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Full text of "Sea-gift : a novel"







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SEA-GIFT 



A NOVEL. 



B Y 



EDWIN" W. FULLER, 



Author of " The Angel in the Cloud.' 



NEW YORK: 
E. J. HALE & SON, PUBLISHEES, 

MURRAY STREET. 
1873. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in tho year 1873, by 

E. J. HALE & SON, 

la tho Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



PREFACE, 



Reader, my Book is before you ! 

If it has faults, you expect them; therefore excuse 
If it has merit, you are surprise!/ ; therefore applaud. 

E. W. F. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/seagiftnove 



I AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE THIS 

LOVE STOBY 

TO ONE WHO HAS TAUGHT ME THE BEAUTY AND DEPTH OF 
WOMAN'S LOVE, 

MY WIFE. 



SEA-GIFT. 



CHAPTER I. 



As the usages of society generally require an introduction 
between strangers before communications of any moment 
can transpire, I hasten now to introduce myself, that the 
readers hereof, as yet strangers, but whom I hope before 
long familiarly to call " gentle " and " dear," may acquire 
at least one element of interest in the narrative I propose 
to offer, namely, acquaintance with its subject — modesty for- 
bids me to say hero. 

I am, then, at your service, John ; no, I cannot call 

my own name, it always sounds strange in my own mouth 
I'll hand you my card in a moment ; and while I am finger- 
ing nervously in my case for the best engraved one I reflect: 

Why should you listen with the slightest attention to my 
history ? How can I expect you to care any mo,*e for me 
and my affairs,, than for anybody else and anybody else's 
affairs ? What right have I to inflict upon you a recital 
of events, in no way connected with yourself, that three- 
fourths of you believe untrue, and that concerns parties 
you never saw and perhaps never will see ? None, reader, 
none ! 

All the attention you give must be entirely gratuitous, 
except what I shall gain by tickling the selfish side of your 
nature ; for I well know that you like or dislike a book in 
proportion as yourselves are flattered. This flattery, how- 
ever, must not be the result of the author's effort, but your 
own. If the persons told of are beneath you in morals or 
intellect, then it is pleasant to reflect on your own superi- 



8 



S E A - G I F T 



ority. Are they above you in these particulars ? then you 
are pleased to associate with them, so to speak, and to 
assign to yourselves, in imagination, a similarity of conduct, 
under similar circumstances. The book must also possess 
an ingenuity of thought and expression that "will make you" 
conscious, to a flattering extent, of your own ingenuity in 
detecting it. Hence, often the most pleasant books to read 
are those that tell of simple things in such a way that you 
exclaim : 

" I could have written that myself, if I had only thought 
of it." 

To afford self-complacent comparisons to the conceited, 
to furnish evidences of their own ingenuity to the soi-disant 
original, and to give conscious improvement to the soberly 
studious, is a more difficult task than I can undertake. I 
will simply tell my story, and leave the self-bees to suck 
what honey they please out of it. 

Ah ! I have at last found it. Here is my card : 




You smile ; you know me ? No, I beg pardon, I have 
never had the honor of your acquaintance. You may have 
known some of the Smiths, but not the members of our 
immediate family. John is an old family name with us. 
My father, grand and great grandfather, were all named 
John ; in fact we could ascend the family tree six squares, 
without getting out of the Johns ; and even the seventh, 
who was an H (H. T. Smith), was preceded by numerous 
Johns, only to be distinguished from each other by the 
middle initials. There was a John A. Smith, and a John B. 



S E A - G I F T . 9 

Smith, and a John C. Smith; coming down so alphabeti- 
cally that I used to think, when a child, that, as father and 
myself only had John for our names, a great many Smiths, 
whose names were lost, had already lived, and used up the 
balance of the alphabet for their middle initials. 

Our family is a very large one, being represented in 
almost every nation on the globe ; but its vast extent is a 
matter of pride, not reproach, with me. When I remember 
the long list of Warriors, Statesmen, Scholars, and the 
immense army of Usemen it has given to the world, I con- 
ceive that the world owes the name a debt of gratitude, and, 
being one of the creditors, I expect partial payment at 
least. 

The name itself points to an artizan origin, but the sieve 
of centuries has filtered our blood clear of the last dust of 
the anvil, and it throbs in our veins with Heraclidean 
purity. Perhaps the majority of my connections were men 
of humble birth, but where the number is so immense, we 
can claim only those that are creditable. Consequently, the 
aforesaid tree, hanging up in our library, with dusty, tar- 
nished frame, and an age-yellowed parchment, presented a 
very mottled appearance of groups of very little blocks, 
with very little " Smiths " written on them, and very large 
blocks, their names spelt in capitals, and with broad red 
lines connecting them to us. These last were Smiths who 
attained to something and were worth claiming. Away off 
in one corner, with a great quantity of zigzag lines to make 
it even connect at all, was the name of John Smith, with 
"Capt." prefixed, and the date 1609. Father used to take 
me on his knee, when I grew old enough to listen, and tell 
me long stories about my brave relative, who had fought 
with the Turks, slept on straw, (a fact which led me to 
believe that he was also a kinsman of Margaret Daw), dared 
the Indians, looked calmly at Powhatan's lifted club, and 
then flirted with his gentle protectress, Pocahontas. Hev 

i* 



10 SEA-GIFT. 

descendants, in Virginia, father told me, always claimed kin 
with our family, though the relationship was based entirely 
on this approximation to matrimony between our ancestors. 
I remember well that I did not wish to recognise, as rela- 
tives, the children of the mulatto her picture represented 
her to be ; and I insisted that they be put down with the 
little blocks and little Smiths, until he informed me that 
many of them had become distinguished ; and while it was 
quite a disgrace in society to have had a dark ancestor with 
kinky hair, it was quite an honor to have had a dark ances- 
tor with straight hair. I have seen, in life, since then, that 
social distinction often turns upon less than the crook of 
a hair. 

For our immediate family there were father and mother 
and I, after I came. 

My father was wealthy, owning a very large plantation 
near Goldsboro, a fine residence in Wilmington, N. C, and 
some heavy renting real estate in New York. 

Possessing the means for it, he was fond of display, and 
stood among the neighbors, in the country, as a proud, 
though popular man. They admired his pride because it 
was above their envy, while his uniform courtesy and kind- 
ness flattered all with whom he had intercourse. His car- 
riage at elections was sure to be welcomed with cheers, as it 
drove on the grounds, though he could never be persuaded 
to dabble in the turbulent waters of politics. In town, some 
loved, some envied, but all respected him. His perfect integ- 
rity, his generosity, and his social qualities, secured for him, 
at all times, a large circle of friends, while there were some 
who, feeling socially equal, were surpassed by him in charac- 
ter, both in their own eyes and in public opinion ; these, of 
course, regarded him with some disfavor. 

But of mother no tongue spoke evil. Every one pos- 
sesses a distinguishing idiosyncrasy; her's was goodness — 
all that was comprehended under St. Paul's " charity." 



SEA-GIFT. 11 

There was no sounding brass or tinkling cymbal about 
her life; it was one of unselfish love, active benevolence, 
holy influence, and unassuming piety. I believe that the 
only command in the Bible she could not obey was, "Take 
up thy cross," for her angelic temperament made every 
duty a pleasure, and every sacrifice a source of happiness. 
Nor was she only theoretically good. She put her faith 
into constant practice. When her pew was vacant at 
church, the doctor was sure to be our visitor ; the pupils 
in her Sabbath school class made an entire transfer of the 
affections they should have reserved for their own mothers 
to her; and our servants refrained from any insolence and 
disobedience out of the purest respect for her— a perfect 
anomaly in slavery. The meanest hut in town could boast 
her presence if there was sickness within its walls; and our 
dining-room servants brought a salver and napkin for 
charity delicacies as regularly as they laid the cloth. Yet 
her charity was not of that order which begins anywhere else 
but at home; every one in our house felt that she had a 
deep interest in them. Her smile was almost constant, and 
when she did reprove there was a tone of regret about her 
words, as if they pained her more than they did the reci- 
pient. 

She and father were very happy together, though they 
lacked congeniality. He was fond of display and gaiety, 
she fond of retirement and quiet; his heart chiefly on the 
world, her's all on heaven; he haughty though courteous, 
she gentle and kind; he formal, she good natured and easy 
in her every manner. 

Father was a Polonius about dress, believing it should 
be " costly as thy purse can buy;" and he inundated 
mother's wardrobe with silks, brocade and velvets, and con- 
stantly replenished her bijouterie with jewels of rare value, 
till she was as much bewildered as Miss McFlimsey, from a 
cause just the reverse. I have often smiled to see her, just 



12 S E A- GI FT . 

to please father, start to church in a magnificent train and 
exquisite bonnet, looking for all the world like a poor dove, 
dressed in peacock's plumage. 

But I must not plunge into affairs too rapidly. Having 
given this short prologue before the curtain, I will now let 
it rise upon the first scene. 

Ring the bell ! 



CHAPTER II. 



I was apparently expected, for, as I have been credibly 
informed, an extensive wardrobe had been prepared for me, 
and a whole drawer in the bureau appropriated for its stor- 
age. The said wardrobe consisted of several long sacerdotal 
robes, of the finest cambric; a dozen or more very unsacer- 
dotal looking nether garments of linen and cambric, ruffled 
and trimmed with thread lace; a number of gowns of rich 
material; also a couple of flannel skirts, heavily embroidered, 
and seemingly intended only to tangle the feet; and quite a 
pile of unmentionables, with necessary fastenings. 

There was also an elegant India muslin robe, trimmed 
with embroidery and fretted with lace, and a handsome 
lace cap, laid apart to themselves. These, as I afterwards 
learned, were intended for my baptismal suit. 

I have thus particularized, because I am rather proud of 
having come into property so early. 

One blustering night in the latter part of March I arrived, 
invaded the wardrobe, and appeared next morning on a 
pillow of state, ready to receive company. My appearance 
could not have been excessively prepossessing, as I formed 
no exception to the usual standard of aesthetic attainment 
exhibited by the little red monsters of my age. My hair 
was very thin and peach-fuzzy; eyes of uncertain hue, and 



SEA- GIFT. 13 

apparently disgusted with the world and its sights, if we 
may judge from the persistency with which they kept the 
puffy, lashless lids closed ; a dusty little forehead, that 
wrinkled so much when the eyes did open that one would 
suppose I had seen trouble, and " had losses" in the world 
from which I had so recently come; my mouth, purple and 
projecting with the upper lip, while the under lip was 
sucked in, after the most approved directions for pronounc- 
ing the Greek phi. The sleeves of my wrapper were rather 
too long (the usual fault in our first clothes, arising, per- 
haps, from the fact that while they are in process of con- 
struction there is no opportunity of trying them on us), 
and were rolled up around my tight-closed fists, which kept 
digging into my eyes with prize-fighting pertinacity. 

The day following my advent being Sunday, and the place 
of my birth being in the country, many of the neighbors 
dropped in to see Mrs. Smith and the baby. All went 
through the same programme. 

"How d'ye do, Mrs. Smith; I hope you came through 
well; but then this is your first. There's nothing like getting 
used to it. And where's the little dear V 

And without waiting for my mother's replies and thanks, 
they would turn to the nurse holding me in her lap on the 
pillow, and removing the wrapping from my face as care- 
fully as if it were a bird, and would fly out, they would 
gaze at me mesmerically, cluck to me with a perseverance 
undamped by the want of effect, and finally turn away with 
the defiant assertion that I was the perfect image of both 
my parents; an assertion which would have been at least 
debatable, from the fact that my father was very dark in 
complexion and feature, and my mother very fair. Some 
even insisted on holding me, the spinster visitors being par- 
ticularly desirous of this privilege; and getting me in their 
laps, they would examine the tightness of my clothing, and 
the temperature of my skin, with the well assumed criticism 



14 SEA-GIFT. 

of experience. And if one found, on thrusting her hands 
beneath my clothes, that my feet were cold, most proudly 
and complacently she would unfold my garments, and expose 
my little splotched limbs to the fire. My feet and legs must 
have looked very pitiful indeed, sticking out of a wilderness 
of flannel like two slim beets, crossing each other with their 
little flat soles, as if I was born to be a tailor! 

When the visitors were gone my father would come and 
gaze long and steadily into my face, then anxiously suggest 
that something must be the matter with me, because I was 
lying so still ; and my mother would call for me to be 
brought to her, and after innumerable fixings, adjusting the 
cloth over my face this way, turning my head that way, 
hiding the point of one pin, pulling out another, straight- 
ening this and that fold of a garment— after all these nervous- 
nesses, peculiar to young mothers, I would be found to 
be sleeping soundly ; and then mother would regale herself 
with a long conversation between us, though it is more than 
probable she monopolized the talking. 

But as my presence, so important to one household, had 
no effect whatever upon the old monarch of the glass and 
scythe, the days still managed to glide by, and with the 
crying spell at the morning bath, the troublesome feeding, 
father's fidgets and mother's anxiety, I arrived at the first 
era in baby life — noticing. What an important period! How 
many things were tried to attract my attention! Father 
whistled and clucked his mouth almost away; Aunt Hannah, 
my nurse, coming with my bottle, would tinkle on it with 
her thimble and sputter her lips to draw my blinking eyes 
towards her, and mother shook, successively and constantly, 
all her different bunches of keys over my face, in the vain 
endeavor to discover my favorite. Unconscious I, all the 
while lying on my back, vacantly staring to see the sounds. 
Mother now being able to sit up, it was her constant delight 
to have me in her lap, treating me as if I were a doll, and 



SEA-GIFT. 15 

she a girl of ten ; trying vainly to part and brush my scanty 
hair, making me sit up, while she kept my limber neck steacly 
with one careful hand ; and wearing my palms out teaching 
me to " patty cake." And such air castles as she would 
build for me ! Telling me with as much emphasis as if I 
understood it all, and with each word, giving me a soft peck 
on the cheek with her forefinger. 

"Never mind, tweetness! we'll do 'way from this old 
country house soon, and live in the town, and then, oh! the 
putty things Johnnie will have! A putty 'ittle tarriage and 
a g'eat big yocking horse, with a long mane and tail, and a 
'ittle g'een wagon, and a 'ittle black dog, and ah! so many, 
many putties for a tweet 'ittle boy." Then chattering my 
chin in her ecstasy of love, till the titillation made me draw 
my face into a shape that might, by a very wide stretch of 
the imagination, be called a smile, she would scream for 
father to witness my display of intelligence. He, of course, 
would not believe it till I was chattered again ; but instead 
of the laugh, the concussion of my gums would produce 
such plaintive wails that mother would apologise, with all 
the pleonasm of baby talk, and soothingly request me to 
" there, then, darling!" 

My extreme youth prevented me from seeing the exact 
philosophy of " there then-ing " under pain, and I would 
continue my vocale till something more palatable to baby 
taste than baby talk would stop my mouth, and sleep's 
gentle wing would fan away my tears. 

How long would a mother's patience watch my slumbers 
while she mused on the strange responsibility of her posi- 
tion! A soul given to her to form for good or evil; the 
potter's clay placed in her hands to make a vessel unto 
honor or dishonor! How fervent her prayer: "0, Father, 
guide me to guide him!" 

What an impostor is the slumbering babe! His tiny 
hand, resting in dimpled fairness on your breast, seems to 



16 SEA-GIFT. 

lift the veil of Futurity, and open to your view the brightest 
paths of flowery beauty, down which his feet shall patter 
with the innocence of childhood, run with the eager ambi- 
tion of youth, stride with the honors of manhood, and totter 
with the feebleness of old age into the grave o'er which 
towers the marble tribute of a nation's love. Were the real 
curtain lifted, and Life's true pathway shown, how Earth's 
timid ones would shrink from its thorns and poisons, its 
bubble hopes and bitter cups. Thank God the Future is 
hidden, but the promise stands: "As thy days are, so shall 
thy strength be." 



CHAPTER III. 



The year, growing old, began to feel ashamed of the 
jaunty green in which the spring and summer had decked 
him, and was laying aside his verdant garments, leaf by leaf, 
for the more dignified russet of autumn, when we — that is to 
say, father, mother and myself — prepared to return to our 
winter residence in Wilmington. I, of course, have no recol- 
lection of the journey, but have since been told that I stood 
it like a little soldier, though whether diminutive stature has 
anything to do with military fortitude I leave to nursery 
disputants to settle; as I believe their invariable encourage- 
ment to patience and endurance is the example of a fictitious 
officer of small size. The man has never been a child who 
has not been requested to take a dose of physic or bear a 
mustard plaster like a little captain, thereby inspiring him- 
self with the greatest respect and admiration for the im- 
mense deglutitory capacity of that functionary, and the cal- 
losity of his epidermis. 

The winter in turn passed away, and another spring and 
summer in the country, and we were returning again to 



SEA- GIFT. 17 

town in the Fall, before I can begin to recollect things on 
my own account. What vague, undefined and grotesque 
memories they are! The carriage in which we travelled 
seems now to have been a chaos of shawls and baskets, 
from which father, mother and Aunt Hannah protruded 
helplessly, like pictures of fairies coming out of flowers. It 
was very cloudy, or at least everything now seems to have 
been gray when we started. The wheels commenced hum- 
ming a drowsy tune, as they rolled through the sand, and 
soon hummed me to sleep; and when I awoke the carriage 
was going backward, and the sun had come out in the 
wrong place. Then we stopped at a well, near a house with 
a fat, wooden chimney, and an aspen tree in front, whose 
leaves seemed to be blinking all their eyes at me. A man 
in a broad-flapped hat came out with a gourd in his hand, 
and behind him a large yellow dog, that was tied to a piece 
of wood, and barked and jumped on each side of the string 
as if he wanted to shake it off. The well had a long pole, 
with a bucket at one end and a large stone at the other; 
and when Horace, our driver, went to it to draw some water 
for the horses, the stone seemed to fly up to the clouds. 
Then Horace filled the bucket and carried it to the horses, 
and I could hear them kissing it, as if they were so glad to 
see it; and, while I was listening at that, the man with the 
hat and dog handed in, at the carriage window, the great 
cool-looking gourd, with a long, crooked handle, clown into 
which the water clicked, as if laughing, when father held it 
to me to drink. 

After I had been bidden to " thank the kind gentleman, 
Johnnie," and done so, Horace strapped the bucket again 
under the carriage, got up to his seat, and the house and 
well moved back out of sight, just as the man sent the stone 
flying up again to the sky. All is a blank for a long time — 
till Horace drives over a snake, and they hold me up to the 
window to see it. My eyes can discover nothing but the 



18 SEA-GIFT. 

shadow of the bucket swinging between the wheels; and 
ever afterwards a bucket, under one of the old fashioned 
carriages, is associated with a dead snake and a hot, sandy- 
road. There is another sleepy blank, and I drowsily rouse 
up, as we drive into town, to find it dark, and the lights all 
in a hurry to go somewhere, chasing each other by the 
carriage window, till one bold blaze stops right in front of 
it, and father exclaims, " Here we are!" 

We get out, shawls, chaos and all, and I am carried up 
some broad stone steps, into a large hall with bright lights, 
and on through to a strange room, where there are new 
faces among the servants, a little excrescence of a fireplace, 
filled with red coals, and a large table steaming with good 
smelling dishes. Everything, for an indefinite period after 
this, is confused and unsatisfactory, and I can eliminate 
nothing into distinct recollection but two series of events, 
which, from their frequent repetition, have become facts of 
memory, viz., rides in my little carriage, and, in educational 
phrase, corrections ; more plainly, whippings. 

What tortures I suffered in my carriage, children alone 
know. Enclosed on three sides by the leather curtains, I 
was confined in front by a strap, which was buckled across 
my breast, to keep me from falling out, and, thus cooped 
up like a criminal, I would sit, listening to the grinding, 
gritty sound of the wheels as they rolled over the flag 
stones, bumping my head against the framework, knocking 
my cap awry, and not knowing how to put it straight 
again, and suffering the misery of whining without being 
noticed — a source of much affliction, by the way, to many 
grown-up children — my nurse all the while walking behind, 
and pushing me along, engaged in too deep a conversation 
with other nurses to heed my murmuring! 

One of my sorest trials was to pass the stores, and have 
some pert clerk stop my carriage and say: 

"Hello! Auntie, whose child is that?" 



SEA-GIFT. 19 

" Col. Smith's, sir." 

"Why," coming to me, and squatting down by the car- 
riage, " I'll declare, he's a fine little fellow. How d'ye do, 
sir." 

"Tell the gentleman how d'ye," persuades Aunt Han- 
nah, who, like all nurses, is flattered by compliments to 
her protege ; but, before I can turn away in disgust, his 
tobacco-smelling moustache scratches my face. My greatest 
consolation, in all this .persecution, was to meet little Lulie 
Mayland, my assigned sweetheart, though I was rather 
young for the blind god's arrow. Our nurses would lift us 
from our carriages and hold us up to kiss each other; and 
I would be in a perfect glee as she tried to put her little 
plump fingers into my eyes, and I felt her moist little mouth 
on my cheek. Putting me down in the foot of her carriage, 
we would be rolled home together, as happy and joyous as 
children only can be. 

The other series of events to which I have alluded were, 
from their very frequency, fixed still more indelibly upon my 
mind; though the intense activity of certain cognitive facul- 
ties, during their occurrence, may have contributed some- 
what to their retention. They were the immediate and 
inevitable consequence of any recusancy, on my part, in 
regard to the rules of the bath. I possessed the usual 
hydrophobic prejudice of extreme youth, and dreaded morn- 
ing ablutions as Rome did the Gauls. Had I been old 
enough to have managed the bath myself I should not have 
cared, but to be washed like a dish, put into the tub, and 
spongeful after spongeful squeezed over me, was more than 
my good nature could submit to. Mother, finding her rea- 
soning wasted, and her commands disregarded, would send 
for switches, and laying me across her lap, pour hot embers, 
as it seemed to me, on my naked legs. I did not stop to 
debate, which I might have done with propriety, whether 
the friction developed the latent heat of the rods, or whether 



20 SEA-GIFT. 

they were actually set on fire and then applied; I simply 
recognized the fact, that unless the bath came the fire did, 
and I wisely chose the former. The embers' influence would 
last, on an average, about two days, when they would have 
to be again applied. 



CHAPTER IY. 



I had been disturbing the centre of gravity of our globe 
for nine years, and had grown up into a mischievous, fun- 
making urchin — always out of the way when wanted, and in 
the way when not. I would have passed any committee 
on "boys," and probably taken the medal as the best speci- 
men. I had fulfilled all the requisites of custom. I had 
torn out all my pockets with loads of marbles, knives, 
strings, stones, buttons, nails, &c. I had cut my hands and 
fingers, and fallen out of doors perhaps even more than was 
necessary. I could soil a ruffle with all the facility of con- 
tempt for such a feminine ornament. I could wear out 
shoes and tear a hat as quickly as the most reckless, and 
I had a real, first class aversion to "trying on" clothes in 
process of making; the rough edges of an unfinished jacket, 
rubbed into my neck by the fingers of the seamstress, not at 
all according with that placidity of temperament I had been 
advised to cultivate by the dogs-and-bears poetry, while the 
rapidity with which I could cover clean clothes with mud 
was, I fear, a matter .of peculiar pride, as it was of certain 
punishment. My most perfect attribute of boyhood, how- 
ever, was the devotion I bore my sweetheart, and the utter 
apathy and indifference with which I regarded all other 
girls. 

Being such an one, I was highly gratified when mother 
said to me one day: 



SEA-GIFT. 21 

"Johnnie, we are going to give a dinner party next week, 
and as you will be without company, you may go over and 
invite Lulie Mayland." 

"Oh! I'm so glad, I'm so glad," I sung out; "and I mean 
to go over right now, and tell her to come." 

"No, no," said mother, smiling, and taking me by the 
jacket button, "we have not sent out our cards yet. Wait 
till Monday, then you may go." 

I was disposed to whine at the delay, but she pinched my 
cheek as she got up from her chair, and said: 

"No, you must do as I say, sir;" and left me, full of im- 
patience for the advent of Monday. During the remainder 
of the week I exercised fully the child's faculty of being 
ubiquitous at home. The kitchen, however, received the 
largest share of my attention. I was around every table, 
dipping in every dish, and in the cook's way, to my fullest 
extent. If she turned around with a pan in her hand, it was 
sure to thump my head, and my anger thereat could only 
be appeased by letting me have a piece of dough to feel or 
a bowl to scrape. If eggs were to be beaten, I must try to 
froth them, till I was as full of foam as a half born Aphro- 
dite; if flour was to be sifted, I was sure to get whitened; 
if spices were to be pounded I was certain to have my 
fingers mashed; and the burns I received, in trying to cook 
little dabs of cake, would have discouraged Mucius Scsevola. 
Then my insatiate curiosity, and constant inquiries in regard 
to the numerous articles scattered around, would have wor- 
ried out a less irascible nature than that of our cook; and 
by a final appeal to mother, and a command from head- 
quarters, I would be forced to raise the siege, and retire from 
the field, with a jacket full of sugar and flour, sullenly licking 
my fingers in defiance. \ 

Verily, childi'en prove the old adage true: " Satan finds 
some mischief still for idle hands to do." 

And yet how dear to us are their mischievous ways, and 



22 SEA-GIFT. 

how blank and drear would childhood be without them! 
The sunshine of their presence is always brightest when 
flecked by little clouds of annoyance. And when your 
tenderest bud has been plucked by the Reaper, your heart- 
strings throb saddest o'er the toy that's broken, and your 
tears fall in torrents o'er the little torn garment, while the 
clothes neatly folded pass unnoticed by. 

Early Monday morning I hurried over to tell Lulie. As I 
entered her gate I discovered her at play, near a large rose 
bush, but was surprised and troubled to see a strange boy 
with her. I had somehow, in my own mind at least, assumed 
a kind of proprietorship over her, and the presence of any 
one else, in whom she could take any interest whatever, was 
excessively annoying. I managed to creep up quite near, 
without being discovered, and stood for some time watch- 
ing them, and feeling, in my jealousy, an almost irresistible 
desire to try a stone on the strange head. They were busy 
arranging a doll house, which consisted of rows of dirt piled 
up like fortifications, with lumps of moss for chairs and 
sofas, and an array of dolls that seemed to have been taken 
from the hospital, so much were they maimed in their legs 
and arms. 

The strange boy and Lulie seemed very intimate, and 
bent their heads together, and talked in delighted and ani- 
mated accents; he suggesting, and she listening and adopt- 
ing his suggestions. And then he had on such new clothes, 
such a jaunty cap, such a blue jacket with bright buttons, 
and such boots with heels! In him I recognized a formida- 
ble rival, and concluded to retreat and give up all thoughts 
of the invitation. As I endeavored to slip away unobserved, 
I overturned a little tea set that was placed to one side, 
awaiting the completion of the house. At the noise they 
both turned around and saw me, and Lulie's face flushed a 
little as she exclaimed: 

"There, now! see what you have done! turned over all 
my tea cups and broken I don't know how many!" 



SEA-GIFT. 23 

I offered, with all earnestness, the child's universal 
apology, " I didn't go to do it," but felt that it was not ac- 
cepted, and that I, Lulie's acknowledged sweetheart, was 
not welcome. But boys are not oversensitive, and as I knew 
that to retire then would only make matters worse, I swal- 
lowed my confusion and joined in their play. Lulie did not 
introduce me to her companion, but I soon learned that his 
name was Frank, and that he was fast supplanting me in 
her favor. All my suggestions in regard to the disposition 
and arrangement of the furniture were at once overruled and 
disregarded for what he thought best. 

All her questions and remarks were addressed to him, and 
they both seemed oblivious of my presence, save when they 
wished me to perform some office for them. Then Frank, as 
she called him, had such an insolent way of staring at me, 
and walking around with his hands stuck contemptuously 
into his trousers' pockets. And when we had completed the 
house, and were cleaning up, he raked away the earth with 
his boots, and made little ditches around the walls with his 
heels, and stamped the walks level; in short, made such 
a display of his morocco that I felt quite ashamed of my 
plain copper-tip shoes, and tried to hide them as much 
as possible by standing in the grass. After awhile it was 
proposed to get the doll's dinner ready, and then I 
thought of my errand. Without a moment's consideration 
for Frank's feeling, I broke out with: "Oh I Lulie, I forgot; 
you must come to our house to-morrow; we are going to 
have a dinner, and have got lots of good things cooked. 
There won't be any other girls there but you, and your pa 
and ma are coming, too. Won't you come ?" 

" I don't know," she replied, tying an apron on a very 
red-faced doll, with china feet, wooden legs, and her hair 
rubbed off the back of her head ; " I don't want to go much, 
'cause me and Frank are going to have a doll wedding to- 
morrow. Frank, let me tell you" breaking off suddenly, 



24 SEA-GIFT. 

and putting the doll down with her face on the ground, and 
her wooden limbs very much exposed, she took Frank aside 
to whisper something to him. I inferred it was a proposal 
to invite me to their dinner, as he replied loud enough for 
me to hear: 

" No, let's have it all by ourselves." 

Lulie seemed to assent, and as I had become rather in- 
censed at the whole proceedings, I turned off without 
another word, and went home. Children suffer as keenly, 
if not as long, in their little loves and jealousies as older 
people; and I was as unhappy during the remainder of the 
day as was Octavia while Anthony was in Egypt. Many 
were the castles I had built in the air, in all of which Lulie 
reigned as queen. My favorite dream was to imagine her 
and- myself wrecked, and playing Robinson Crusoe on some 
desert island. I had loved to think how we would sit 
together by the beach and watch the frightened billows 
fleeing to the shore, or stroll through shadowy forests 
in search of fruits; and how I would defend her from the 
wolves and bears, and how tender and confiding she would 
be when she had no one but me to look to. And then, at 
night, how cosy and snug we would be in our cave, which 
would be always warmed and lighted by some means. And 
when the savages came how we would shut the great stone 
door, and be safe and secure. But I had now found in the 
sand, not the naked foot print Robinson saw, but a boot 
track, which conjured up more fears and suspicions than 
Defoe ever conceived; for it told of the presence of a canni- 
bal for my heart. 

The next day wore away and the guests began to arrive. 
Having nothing better to do, I stationed myself at the hall 
window to watch the carriages as they came up to our door, 
and their contents came out. 

The first that arrived were the Cheyleighs, numbering 
Mr. Edward Cheyleigh and wife, a stylish old couple, 



SEA-GIFT. 25 

who prided themselves on their family and position in 
society, and the two Misses Cheyleigh — ladies who had been 
in the market for some time, and as yet were unspoken. 
They were great sticklers for the usages of society, and 
dependent, in a great measure, on their social prestige and 
en regie manners for the attention they received. They 
were well aware of the fact, that while Mr. Cheyleigh had 
given balls and parties innumerable for their benefit, he had 
not yet given a wedding party, and to accomplish for him 
the privilege of giving one was and had been their constant 
aim, albeit its fervor was a little abated by its continued 
futility. 

As they entered the hall, and found the hat and coat 
stands empty, Miss Ella, the younger, turned to her father, 
and with much petulance exclaimed: 

" Now, pa, I hope you are satisfied; you would hurry us 
off, and now we are the very first. I declare it is really too 
bad." 

"Yes, it is," chimes in Miss Gertrude, the elder, "and 
looks as if we were so dreadfully anxious to come." 

"Well, my daughters," philosophises Mr. Cheyleigh," 
somebody has to be the first, and we are fully ten minutes 
behind the time specified." 

" Ten minutes !" exclaimed both young ladies, between 
the pronunciation of the " ten " and the " minutes," chang- 
ing their faces from a frown to a smile, as mother, hearing 
their voices, appeared in the hall and welcomed them, taking 
the ladies off to the cloak room; while William, our servant, 
who had been leaning against the stair while their conver- 
sation was proceeding, recovered himself sufficiently to usher 
Mr. Cheyleigh into the parlor. Many others arrive and are 
passed in, until at length two young gentlemen approach, 
toss away their cigars, and stroll, as it were, up the steps, 
taking a long time to reach the door, and conversing in a 
low tone, which I could overhear. 

2 



26 SEA-GIFT. 

" I wonder who is to be here to-day," said the first, frown- 
ing as if in pain, as he buttoned his glove with an effort ; 
" dinners with old folks are devilish bores." 

"I understand the two Misses Cheyleigh will be here, and 
that will be some relief," replied the other, pulling down his 
wristband, so as to show the white. 

" Yes, quite a relief to you. From your devotion down 
at Bentrie's last evening I should judge you were really in 
love with that long, languishing Gertrude." 

"Hush, Cassell, I vow you shan't speak disrespectfully of 
her. I have a right to admire her, if she is a little oldish." 

"Success to you, Berton! here goes for an hour's boredom 
with that little mincing, over vivacious Ella;" and he pulled 
the bell, muttering as he did so, "I say confound these small 
and select gatherings ; a fellow is always put off with a 
fussy old maid, or a gassy old fogy, who'll talk you into an 
anatomy in five minutes." 

"Any way," whispered the other, as William opened the 
door, " old Smith keeps good wine and feeds well." 

They are followed in turn by others, till at last Dr. May- 
land's carriage drives up, and, to my great surprise and 
delight, I recognise the curly little head of Lulie through 
the window. I was too much piqued by her conduct of the 
day before to run out and meet her, but sprang at her from 
behind the door, as she entered, in a conciliatory kind of 
way, and we both lost our stiffness in a hearty laugh. With- 
out waiting for more arrivals I hurried her off to the nur- 
sery. 

"I thought you were not coming," I began, as soon as we 
were fairly in, "but that you and that Frank somebody were 
to have a doll's party." 

"Yes, but you see Frank and I fell out," she replied 
quickly, " and I think he is ever so mean." 

"So do I," I responded warmly, "don't let's have any- 
thing more to do with him ; we can always have more fun 
by ourselves, can't wc ? " 



SEA-GIFT. 2t 

"Yes, we can; you are not mad because I said what I did 
yesterday, are you ?" 

"No, that I am not," I replied, delighted at the turn 
things had taken; "but come, Lulie, let me show you what 
father gave me on my birthday." 

Sitting down together on the rug before the bright glow- 
ing fire, we took out of its box a little model of a house in 
separate pieces, and commenced to put it together. I sat 
and gazed at her, as she bent over the blocks, trying to 
make piece after piece fit ; and she looked so beautiful, with 
one side of her face all red from the fire, and her clustering 
brown curls drooping so gracefully around it, that I could 
resist the inclination no longer, but leaned forward and 
kissed the glowing cheek. 

"Oh stop!" she said, tossing her head without looking 
up; "you bother me so I can't build the house at all." 

This was so much milder than I expected I tried another. 

" Stop, I tell you," she exclaimed, feigning to strike me 
with one of the blocks; "see, you've tumbled all the top of 
the house off." 

"I will stop," I said, looking at her very earnestly, "if 
you will give me a kiss of your own accord." 

"Here, then," she said, raising her head; and throwing 
back her curls she put up her rosy lips, and I kissed her. 
People say children know nothing about love, but there was 
a thrill of pleasure and a smack of romance in that kiss 
before the nursery fire, that none which have ever since 
touched my lips have possessed. 

We amused ourselves in various ways till the servant 
brought in our dinner, spread the nursery table, and, as I 
gave Lulie my high chair, piled up books in another for me, 
to bring me up to a comfortable level with our meal, then 
left us to enjoy it. We chewed out praises, and smacked out 
lavish encomiums on the skill of the cook, as we eagerly 
applied ourselves to her dainties ; and when Lulie had sip- 



28 SEA-GIFT. 

ped the last trembling particle of blanc mange, and added 
the debris of the last grape to the goodly pile on her fruit 
plate, we got down, instead of rising, from our chairs, and 
went from the nursery to the dining room. The ladies had 
withdrawn some time since, and the gentlemen had almost 
finished their wine. The two young men, who had charac- 
terized dinners with old folks as devilish bores, had excused 
themselves, and gone back to the parlors. 

Finding nothing to interest us in the dry, stale jokes or 
political fanfarronade of the dining room party, we ran off 
to the parlors, and took our station on each side of the door, 
to watch all within. The ladies were grouped round the 
fires or examining the pictures, while Mr. Cassell and Miss 
Ella, Mr. Berton and Miss Gertrude, were promenading 
slowly the whole length of the rooms. We thought this 
was a great sign of love, and watched them with great 
interest. As they approached our end of the room we 
could hear very well, but when their backs were turned 
their words were gradually lost; so that our ideas of the 
tenor of their conversation were somewhat disconnected. 
Mr. Berton, who seemed interested in what he was saying, 
and Miss Gertrude equally so, approached first. 

" Yes, indeed," he was saying, as they came into earshot, 
"We had a most charming time. The moonlight was as 
bright as day, and the Minnie scarcely rippled the water. 
The music, too, was better than usual,, and we danced eight 
sets going down, besides the round dances. We missed 
you a great deal ; everybody was inquiring for Miss Ger- 
trude." 

" Ella told me what a delightful excursion it was," replied 
Miss G., trying to pout bewitchingly, as if still vexed at her 
own absence. " I was so exceedingly unwell that ma would 
not hear to my going, and I had a real hard cry over it. 
When do we have another ?" 

"I am afraid not before another moon. We are talking, 



SEA-GIFT. 29 



however, of getting up a picnic for the Sound next 



They passed down the room, and out of hearing, as Cassell 
and Miss Ella came up, she all smiles, he all languor. 

"You say they are from the western part of the State? 7 ' 
he inquired, with a drawl, as if he only pursued the subject 
because he was too lazy to find another. 

" Yes," replied Miss Ella, with nervous vivacity, "from 
Charlotte, I think. They are quite an addition to our 
society, are they not?" 

"Quite!" laconicised Cassell, as if he had done all for the 
subject that could be required of him. 

" And then," she continued, " they are connected with the 
Cartoneaus of South Carolina, who, you know, are some of 
the first people in the State. Mr. Paning brought a letter 
of introduction to pa from Judge Francis Cartoneau. He 
and ma called, of course, and were much pleased, though 
Mrs. Paning, ma thought, was a little stiff." 

Lulie and I were immensely interested in this conversa- 
tion, and eagerly listened for its further development. 

Mr. Cassell paused awhile, as if to debate whether his 
system could stand a continuance of the conversation, then, 
with a resigned arch of his eyebrows to himself, asked: 

"Do they intend to reside here?" 

" Oh yes, they have bought Mr. Huxley's place, and are 
having it fitted up in magnificent style. When they move 
in I understand they intend giving a grand ball !" 

Mr. Cassell paused again, then taking a flower from his 
lappel, bit it savagely, and asked: 

" Have they any daughters ?" as if it was the last question 
she might expect from him. 

"No, they have only one child — a little boy — named 
Frank, after his uncle, Judge Cartoneau." 

Cassell did not appear at all interested in the name of the 
little boy, but I was intensely so, and leaned in the door to 
hear more, but, unfortunately, they had passed down the 



30 SEA-GIFT. 

room out of hearing, while Miss Gertrude and her beau 
came again into audience. They were still on the subject 
of the excursion, and Mr. Berton was verging towards the 
sentimental, while Miss Gertrude was encouraging him with 
all the art she could command. 

"I'll vow I didn't, Miss Gerty; I sat apart almost the 
whole night, thinking of you." 

"Why, Mr. Berton! Ella told me you were perfectly de- 
voted to Miss Withers." 

"Withers, indeed 1 she's perfectly horrid; but did you 
think enough of me to inquire what I did?" 

" Of course, I " Her remarks were broken off, as far 

as we were concerned, by the entrance of the gentlemen from 
the dining room. We tried to dodge, and get away, but 
two of them caught us, and holding us by the ears, asked 
our names — which question seems to be, with most people, 
a test of a child's intelligence. To answer it was a task I 
dreaded more than Hercules did the Augean stables. My 
name, short as it was, seemed to stretch into a length equal 
to the King of Siam's whenever I had to pronounce it; and 
I have often blessed the man who invented cards. There 
being no escape now, we drawled out, respectively, " John 
Smith" and " Lulie Mayland," and were released, one of our 
captors remarking as we scampered off : 

" Smith, you and Mayland ought to raise them up for 
each other. They will make a fine match one of these 
days." 

I fully forgave him for asking my name, and earnestly 
wished he might be a prophet. 

Glad to get away, Lulie and I ran out into the back yard, 
and played till 'twas very dark, when one of the servants 
came to call us in. We found all the guests gone but Dr. 
and Mrs. Mayland, who were just entering their carriage. 
I bade Lulie a hasty good-bye, and turned back into the 
house, feeling a joyous flutter about the heart, as if a hum- 



SEA-GIFT. 31 

ming bird were enclosed in it and was struggling to escape. 
Mother met me in the hall, and said: 

" John, it is so late you need not get your lesson to-night, 
but, as you are perhaps sleepy, you can go into the nursery, 
and I will come in and hear you say your prayers." 

Though I was a good stout boy, mother could not get out 
of the old habit of seeing me to bed, and hearing me repeat 
my prayers aloud. 

I entered the nursery, but instead of undressing, sat down 
by the fire, and began — 

" Fancy unto fancy linking." 

Again I was on the desert island, but the boot track had 
disappeared, and our snug grotto received the addition of a 
grate, a rug, and a house model. The savages came, and 
smacked their bloody lips through the bars of our cave, and 
yelled with eager desire to reach us, but I cared not. I was 
happy as long as those curls were drooping over the blocks, 
and I was stealing kisses from the rosy architect. 

Mother came in, and broke my reverie. I got up, un- 
dressed, and kneeled down by her side. Laying my cheek 
on her knee, I commenced "Our father" with my tongue, 
while my mind was still in the grotto with Lulie. I had 
not repeated half, when a ferocious savage tore loose a bar, 
and was squeezing himself through the aperture, while I 
stood on the defensive, with one of the Corinthian columns 
of our little house for a weapon, ready to strike down the 
invaders. So vivid was the picture that even my tongue 
forgot its office, and with the broken prayer upon my lips 
I lay gazing into the glowing coals. Mother's hands touched 
my head as she said gently: 

"My child, what are you thinking of? Remember, you are 
praying to the great God, who will not hear you unless you 
ask in earnest. If you were asking your father for some- 
thing you wished very much would you not think of what 
you were saying ?" 



32 SEA-GIFT. 

"Yes, ma'am," I replied, meekly, at length recalled from 
my vision. 

"And do you not want God to take care of father and 
mother, and yourself, to-night?" 

"Yes, ma'am." 

" Then ask him as you ought." And with that soft hand 
upon my head all earthly visions vanished, and I repeated 
the oft-said prayer, with all of childhood's earnestness, and 
its simple, trusting faith. 

I rose, got in the bed, received mother's good-night kiss, 
and, as I closed my eyes, Queen Mab's grey gnat coachman 
drove his atomic team across my nose, and Lulie, models, 
savages, Cassell, Miss Gertrude, and crestfallen Frank Pan- 
ing, all danced before me, and danced me to sleep. 



CHAPTER Y. 



On the morning succeeding the day described in the last 
chapter, father startled me very much at the breakfast 
table, by asking: 

"John, how would you like to commence school? you 
are getting too old to be playing all the time." 

" Oh, ever so much!" I replied, eagerly, watching his face 
closely, to see if he was in earnest. " Ned Cheyleigh began 
last session, and I can read and spell as well as he can 
now, so it will be easy for me to keep up." 

" Well, I saw Miss Hester Week about it yesterday, and 
she said she would be very glad to take you, so you can get 
ready to start to-morrow morning." 

I was too much excited to eat any more, but began teaz- 
ing mother to begin right away on my school outfit. 



SEA-GIFT. S3 

"Mother, I want a satchel to carry my books in, and a 
basket for my luncheon; and, mother, please get me a string 
for my top, because all the boys play top, and I broke my 
string yesterday; and father, please sir, get me a knife to 
peel apples and to cut pencils with, and a piece of leather to 
make me a sling, and a " 

" Hush, Johnnie," said mother, " be quiet, and I will be 
sure to have you ready. The school room is just around the 
corner, so you can come home for your lunch ; and as your 
'books' only consist of one 'Angell's First Book' you will 
hardly need a bag. 

I gulped down a mouthful of food, then hastening from 
the table, I got my Reader and devoted the whole morning 
to picking out all the hard words and spelling them over. 
By dinner time I had mastered nearly all of them, and 
could read with considerable fluency the pathetic tale of re- 
tributive justice which befel the cruel James Killfly. 

That evening when father came in he brought me a beau- 
tiful knife with a file blade in it. To possess a knife with a 
file blade had always been one of the unattained pinnacles 
of my ambition — this appurtenance, in my eyes, being the 
very toga virilis of cutlery; and as my property in this de- 
partment had hitherto consisted of blunt pointed Barlows, 
and fatigued looking dog knives, with their edges purposely 
made dull, to be the undisputed owner of an exquisite 
pearl handled knife, with brightest blades, placed me at 
once upon the pinnacle, and I enjoyed the situation. I was 
never tired of opening and snapping the blades, and blow- 
ing my breath upon them, as the larger boys did, to test 
their metal. I trimmed my pencil quite away, because the 
cedar cut smoothly, and the chairs suffered as severely as 
Washington, Sr.'s, cherry tree did. 

I rose next morning with the sun, and was busying 
everywhere in my preparations for school. Breakfast fin- 
ished, with my book in my hand, and that adored knife in 

2* 



34 SEA-GIFT. 

my pocket, I started with father for the school. I felt a 
little sinking about the heart as I kissed mother good-bye 
and descended the steps, and would, had I not been 
ashamed, have shrunk from the new life I was entering, and 
gone back to the old routine of play. As we turned our 
corner I looked back, and mother was still standing in the 
door, gazing thoughtfully after us. I could not then under- 
stand or appreciate her feelings, but I can now. 

Miss Hester answered our tap at her door in person, and 
invited us in to a seat. I shrank closer to father as the 
curious eyes of the scholars were all turned towards me, 
and I found no kindly sympathy in the glances. Father 
took a seat and entered into conversation with Miss Hester, 
while I timidly surveyed the apartment where my ideas 
were to be taught to shoot. 

Miss Hester Week kept a small preparatory school for 
girls and boys, and ruled it with old maidish particularity. 
All the scholars had to sit up straight on three rows of 
benches, which were so arranged with reference to Miss 
Hester's seat that she could have a full view of all. None 
were allowed to speak or laugh, and as for rocking back- 
wards and forwards, a motion believed by children to be 
conducive to study and essential to retention, the thing was 
unheard of in Miss Hester's school. Some, indeed, had 
tried it on first entering, but after one or two interviews 
with Miss Hester's rod they had learned to study in one 
position. On one side of the room was a row of pegs for 
the girls' hats and bonnets, and on the opposite side a 
similar row for the boys'. At one end of the room was the 
rostrum on which our monarch sat, and at the other was a 
long desk, covered with ink splotches, at which the scholars 
wrote. Having completed my survey of the room I turned 
my attention to the scholars, and scanned their faces closely, 
as I was to associate, more or less intimately, with all 
of them. They were all, with the exception of two or 



SEA-GIFT. 35 

three, munching the corners of their books, and staring 
steadily at father and me. There were five occupants of the 
front bench, who, I thought, from their position, must be 
first grade scholars. The first was a tall, raw-boned girl, 
with sandy hair and freckled face, and light gray eyes, 
turned up at the corners, giving her a sinister and Chinese 
expression that assured me of victimization. Next to her 
was her brother, a small and sleepy second edition of her- 
self, not at all revised or corrected. Then came a bright- 
eyed little fellow who was engaged in the pleasant diversion 
of making hideous faces at me. At his side was a fat, red- 
headed girl, who was the only one studying ; and lastly, a 
stupid, tow-haired, youth, whose straight flax hair looked 
as if it had been hung on his head to dry, and had dried 
stiff, and who was gazing at me as if I were vacancy. 

The second bench held three girls and two boys, who re- 
sembled in many particulars those on the first bench. On 
number three I recognized, to my great joy, Ned Cheyleigh 
and Lulie Mayland, and to my annoyance Frank Paning. 
Before we had concluded our interchange of whispered salu- 
tations, father rose and said to Miss Hester: 

" I will now leave him with you. He is a good boy and 
easy enough to manage, though a little inclined to mis- 
chief." 

" Oh, I will take care of that," she said. " We will be first 
rate friends ; won't we, Johnnie ?" 

Father left me, the door closed on him, and I was begin- 
ning to enter Life's shallowest waters alone. 

" Come here, Johnnie," said Miss Hester, " let me see how 
much you know, so that I can put you in a class." 

I rose, and with a great swelling knot in my throat, drew 
my book from my side pocket and carried it to her. 

" How far have you been in this ?" she said, as she care- 
lessly fluttered over the leaves. 

" I went clear through it, ma'am, under mother." 



36 SEA-GIFT. 

"Well, let me see how you spell; spell 'honest'?" 

I had begun, at first, spelling by recollecting how the 
letters looked on the page, but mother had broken me from 
it and taught me to spell words by their sound. Accord- 
ingly I stammered out, while my eyes filled with tears and 
the knot in my throat almost choked me: 

" O-n-n-e-s-t — Onnest." 

At this Frank Paning led off with a laugh, followed by 
the whole school. A rap on Miss Hester's desk secured 
silence, and she proceeded. 

"Don't be so frightened, child, try another word; spell 
1 Business.' " 

Knowledge of everything, save the names of the letters, 
was gone, and I blindly blurted out: 

"B-i-z-z-i-n-e-double ess!" I broke down completely and 
stood there trying to hide my crying, while the perverse 
tears would drop on the floor, and my nose, treacherous 
organ, required constant snuffling or the tell-tale use of my 
handkerchief. 

Another titter was heard, but Miss Hester repressed it, 
and said in her kindest tone: 

" Poor child, you are too much agitated to spell. I will 
put you, for the present, in a class with Lulie Mayland and 
Edward Cheyleigh. Go there, and let her show you where 
the lesson is." 

As . I started across the room a wad of chewed paper 
struck me in the face. I did not see who threw it, but Miss 
Hester did, and calling up Prank Paning gave him a sound 
whipping. 

Sitting down with Ned and Lulie I felt more at my ease, 
and by the time recess was announced, felt like joining in 
the games. All was clatter and chatter as we poured from 
the door, and the scholars forgot I was a "newy" in the ex- 
citement of the play. The game of "goosey" was proposed 
and commenced. We separated to our bases, and at the 



SEA-GIFT. 3*1 

call advanced. Scampering hither and thither, some tried to 
catch, some to be caught. I dodged, in good earnest, both 
boys and girls, and endeavored to reach the opposite base 
with a zeal that would have adorned a fanatic. But it was 
no use; the tall and freckled girl singled me out, and with a 
speed that would have disdained Atalanta's apples, pursued 
steadily, and with the utmost perseverance, after me. No 
matter how I twisted, turned and doubled, still she was 
behind me, nearer and nearer, never relaxing her speed, 
while with every backward glance I gave, her brown calico 
dress flew higher and higher, and her parrot-toed feet 
stepped' over each other more and more swiftly. 

Of course she overhauled me, and, catching me by the 
lower edge of my jacket, triumphantly dragged me back- 
wards to the base, in the style known as " walking turkey." 
Throughout the whole game it was my fate to be caught by 
the girls, but I was not over timid on this score, and rather 
enjoyed it. At one o'clock I ran home for lunch, and gave 
father and mother a detailed account of my morning's expe- 
rience, omitting the crying scene. I returned to the school 
room with a light heart, and, as children are not very 
formal, was soon acquainted with all the scholars. Frank 
met me first, and begged my pardon for his rudeness in the 
morning. He made himself so kind and attentive to me that 
my prejudices against him imperceptibly began to wear off, 
though I could not help observing that he was overbearing 
to those who were meaner dressed than himself, and whom 
he considered his inferiors. 

As the days wore on I had time to form intimacies, and I 
found one friend in the school whom I could "grapple 
unto my soul with hooks of steel." 

Between Edward Cheyleigh and myself there sprang up 
the most lasting friendship. He was the most noble hearted 
boy I ever knew. Manly and firm to the last degree, yet 
gentle and soft as a girl in his manners; full of life and 



38 SEA-GIFT. 

gaiety, yet no amount of persuasion could make him yield 
his consent to what he thought was wrong. He was, in 
consequence, rather unpopular with the scholars, and I 
have often seen his face flush at a sneer about his. being the 
favorite, after a refusal to join in some plan to worry Miss 
Hester. I used to admire his firmness and moral courage, 
and long to imitate his example, but I was too much afraid 
of the ridicule of the school, and I would often forfeit Ned's 
approval rather than face the jeers of so many. 

As the session passed on I lost all my reserve, and, with 
the absence of embarrassment, came my love for fun. I 
was soon up to all the tricks of school, and an expert in 
their performance. I was perfect in the art of chewing and 
shooting paper, and William Tell took no more pride in his 
apple feat than did I in the accuracy with which I could 
plant a two inch pulp in a boy's forehead across the room, 
and never attract a glance from Miss Hester. I could gauge 
a pin to the exact desideratum of pain, as I inserted it just 
above my neighbor's point of contact with the bench. I 
could stand up and call out, " M' I g' out ?" as loudly as the 
boldest, or assume, with perfect ease, the don't care expres- 
sion and slinging gait, after a mortifying attempt at recita- 
tion. These accomplishments were only acquired after 
months of timidity and practice, but by degrees I became a 
ringleader in all the mischief, and many were the difficulties 
I became involved in. Frank Paning always joined us in 
our schemes, but somehow generally managed to escape the 
punishment that fell on the rest of us. 

One day Miss Hester was later coming than usual. We 
had all assembled, and waited patiently for her some time, 
when Frank suddenly proposed that we bar her out, and 
make her give us holiday. His proposition was agreed to 
by several, of which I was the first; while all the girls, and 
two or three of the very small boys, went outside to wait 
for her. We commenced our operations with vigor, piling 



SEA-GIFT. 39 

up chairs, tables, and Miss Hester's desk, against the door, 
in our haste turning the ink over the copy books and papers, 
and scattering the pens and rulers generally. As we con- 
cluded our arrangements, we observed Ned still inside, 
sitting quietly at his usual corner. 

"Why, hallo, Ned!" said Frank, " I thought you were out- 
side with the other girls. Why don't you go ?" 

"Because I don't wish to," Ned replied, quietly, rubbing 
out one figure on his slate with a wet forefinger and putting 
down another. 

"But you won't tell on us, will you?" asks a timid one. 

" I shall not tell on any one, as it is none of my business;" 
and Ned bent over his slate as if that was all he had to say. 

"All right! here she comes 'round the corner," exclaimed 
two or three excited ones, peeping through a crevice in 
the window. " Wonder what the old lady will do ?" 

Sure enough Miss Hester was coming, walking with all 
the majesty of a teacher, and carrying demoralization to our 
garrison by her very presence. As she came up we could 
hear a chorus of shrill voices crying: 

"Lor! Miss Hester, what do you think? the boys have 
locked us and you out, and say they won't let us in till you 
promise to give 'em holiday." 

She did not reply, but we heard her come up the steps, 
and shake the door two or three times. Finding it barred, 
there was an ominous silence of a minute or two, then 
another more violent shake. The more timorous of our num- 
ber now wished to open the door, and surrender uncondi- 
tionally; but Frank and I, by dint of hard persuasion, and 
by representing to them that this course would not palliate 
their sin, induced them to hold out. She left the house, and 
went off, walking rapidly. The advocates of surrender now 
gained strength, but we argued and plead them into a little 
more obduracy. Before our council of war had ended 
Miss Hester returned with a carpenter, and we felt that the 



40 SKA-GIFT. 

battle was hers. We got our books, took our seats, and 
watched, with anxious eyes, the door, as it creaked and 
strained with every blow. A moment more and it flew open, 
scattering our barricade in every direction, and Miss Hester 
marched in victorious. Having dismissed the carpenter, 
and put things to rights, she turned her attention to the 
perpetrators of the deed. We saw, from the miniature thun- 
der cloud that had gathered between her brows, that there 
was no hope for mercy, so we prepared to meet our fate 
resignedly. Calling us all up in a row, she began at the top 
of the roll : 

" Eliza Atly, were you inside or outside ?" 

Miss Eliza Atly, the freckled girl, with corner-drawn eyes, 
is delighted to testify that she was outside. 

" Abram Barn, outside or inside V 

Abram Barn, the small, fat boy, with puffy cheeks and dry 
tow hair, bubbles out his answer as if it were liquid : 

"Out chide, m'ml" 

" Edward Cheyleigh ?" 

" Inside, ma'am." 

" Edward ! I am surprised at that. Did you bar the door 
against me ?" 

" No, madam." 

" Do you know who did it ?" 

" Yes, ma'am, I do, but I cannot tell." 

Miss Hester's face flushed, as she said, sternly : 

"Those who conceal are as guilty as those who commit." 

She proceeded down the roll, receiving confessions from 
some, and denials from others, till she came to Frank's name. 

" Frank Paning," she said, with her darkest frown, " did 
you bar my door ?" 

" No, madam, I did not." 

He had been nailing down the windows while we were 
barring the door. 

"Did you see who did it?" 



SEA-GIFT. 41 

"I did not see any one do it. When I looked the door 
was all barred up tight." 

Every one looked at him in amazement, but he replied by 
a smirk of conceit at his success. 

" John Smith, did you help to keep me out ?" thundered 
Miss Hester, her patience all gone. 

" Yes, ma'am, I did." 

" That will do; you can all take your seats." 

My name completed the roll, and she laid aside the book, 
and took up the rod. After some remarks on the enormity 
of our offence, and the surprise she felt that some of her 
best scholars should have countenanced it, and that it was 
her unpleasant duty to punish all concerned, she proceeded 
to call up the offenders in order. 

"Edward Cheyleigh, come here, sir. I regret very much 
the necessity of punishing you, as it is the first time, and I 
have never before even reproved you ; but the offence is 
very grievous, and as you know who did it, and won't tell, 
you are accessory to the deed. Hold out your hand!" 

I could stand it no longer, as Ned, with his face crimson 
from mortification, yet his head erect with conscious inno- 
cence, held out his hand for the undeserved blows, but 
springing from my seat, I cried : 

" Miss Hester, Ned had nothing to do with it. We all 
begged him to join us, but he wouldn't ; and if you are 
going to whip him, let me take his share." 

" Stand back, sir," she said sternly, " your time will come 
soon enough. Your hand, Edward." 

He extended each palm, and received the cutting blows 
without a quiver, then turned to his seat. As he sat down 
his fortitude gave way, and, burying his face in his hands, 
he burst into sobbing. 

My time came last, but so much did I feel for Ned that I 
scarce heeded the stinging ferule. Miss Hester, after some 
further remarks, dismissed us for the evening. As we poured 



42 SEA-GIFT. 

from the door, the occasion furnished food for more chat- 
tering than a cargo of magpies could have made. 

" Wasn't old Hess mad, though ?" says one, whose hand 
was still red from the ruler. 

" She couldn't get much out of my hand with her old slap- 
jack," boasts another, rubbing his hands unconsciously on 
his pants, in striking contradiction of his assertion. 

As Frank Paning came out I heard him say: 

" But didn't I get out of it nice ?" 

"Yes, you sneaked out like a dog," I replied indignantly. 
Another chimed in : 

"Yes, you did. Ned Cheyleigh's good game, though. I 
don't believe he ever would have told old Hess, if she had 
beat him till now." 

"Umph !" sneered Frank, "'twas because he was afraid 
to tell. He knew some of us would whip him if he did." 

Ned was coming down the steps, the traces of tears still 
on his cheeks, when he heard Frank's remarks. 

The crimson on his face gave place to the white hue of 
anger, as he walked up to Frank and said : 

" You lie. I dare you to try it." 

Frank looked sheepish, but the boys were all around him, 
and he felt that he must fight, so, laying down his books, he 
met Ned. 

What a momentous subject of interest is a fight between 
school boys ! A duel between senators excites not more 
proportionate attention. 

These only passed a couple of blows, then clinched and 
fell, Frank underneath. What digging in the ground with 
heels and toes ! Frank trying to wring his body from under 
Ned, and Ned trying to hold him down ; while the enthusi- 
astic spectators clapped their hands and shouted as the tide 
of battle wavered : 

" Oh my, Ned ! Hold him down ! Turn him over, Frank ! 
Throw out your leg and push ! Jerk his hands up, Ned," 
etc., etc. 



SEA-GIFT. 43 

After several futile struggles Frank gave up, cried 
" Enough 1" and both arose considerably soiled and 
blown. 

I took Ned in charge, and we started home, I brushing the 
dirt from his clothes, and endeavoring to remove all traces 
of the conflict. 

" Ned," I said, as we reached Mr. Cheyleigh's gate, " I am 
so sorry I got you into this trouble." 

" Oh, never mind that," he replied cheerfully. " I hated 
it on account of its being my first, but I wasn't in fault any 
way, and I wouldn't tell her now to save her life." 

Ned was human, and could not but feel anger at his un- 
deserved punishment. 

We parted, and I hastened home. Anticipating Miss 
Hester's narration of the affair, I gave a faithful account of 
it; taking care to describe our conduct as "having just 
locked her out for a little fun," and descanting, in glowing 
terms, on her cruelty to Ned. Father's brow darkened, and 
he shook his head ominously when I had concluded. 

" John," he said at length, and I knew by his tone that he 
did not see the joke as I did, " this will not do. You are 
always getting in some school difficulty. I must look into 
this affair and learn the true state of the case. Go, get your 
supper and then go to bed. I will see you in the morn- 
ing." 

I sullenly went into the dining room and partook of the 
meal, with gloomy forebodings of the morrow, for I knew, 
from experience, that the "seeing" in the morning meant 
something more than vision. 

I went to my chamber and got to bed, but not to sleep 
(for it was too soon for that, and I could still hear out 
doors the sounds of day life and activity); but to ruminate 
on the injustice of Miss Hester, father and the world 
generally. I felt that father should have taken my part and 
not threatened another punishment, when I had already 



44 SEA-GIFT. 

expiated my fault at Miss Hester's hands. I took a gloomy 
delight in forgetting all his kindness, and bringing up to 
memory all his chastisements and reproofs, and I finally 
came to the conclusion that I was a poor, persecuted little 
martyr, that nobody cared for me, and that it would be 
such a sweet revenge to bundle up all my clothes in a hand- 
kerchief and run away. I thought how fine it would be to go 
far away where no one ever heard of our home, and achieve 
an immense fortune; and when, at last, everybody thought 
me dead, and father was sufficiently penitent for his cruelty, 
to return in a gilded chariot, with several dozen white 
horses, and riding up before our door in great state, inquire 
if Col. Smith, the father of an exiled child, lived there. The 
only obstacle to my fugitive project was the lack of some- 
where to run to; and as no suitable place presented itself to 
my mind, I gave up the scheme for the present, always to be 
renewed, though, when aggrieved, and always to be as far 
from execution. I persevered, however, in my misanthropic 
musings till I had rendered myself thoroughly miserable, 
when my reverie was broken by the entrance of mother, 
who came and sat down on the edge of my bed. Taking my 
hand in her soft palm, she said : 

" Tell me all about your difficulty, Johnnie. How did it 
occur ?" Turning my face from the wet, warm pillow up to 
her's, I gave a full recital of all, throwing in towards the last 
a few reflections on father's harsh treatment, as it appeared 
to me. 

" Hush ! hush ! Johnnie, you must not speak so. I know 
it seems hard to you, but it was well calculated to provoke 
your father. This is the fourth or fifth time you have been 
punished this session, and he knew it would not do to 
encourage you in such rebellious conduct." 

I remained silent and grum, and mother continued : 

" I know boys think it very manly and brave to be insub- 
ordinate at school, and to show all the disrespect they can 



SEA-GIFT. 45 

to the teachers ; if they are reproved to reply pertly, and if 
they are chastised, to bear it without flinching. All these 
are foolishly considered marks of great spirit. But it is a 
very mistaken idea. Is it not wrong, culpably wrong, to 
obstruct and impede the labors of those who are striving to 
do us good ? The very fact of their being compensated 
renders them responsible to parents and guardians for a 
more careful instruction of those placed under their charge, 
and yet you endeavor by every means to prevent the dis- 
charge of this responsibility, even though you are to receive 
the benefit. The teacher's task is a difficult one any way, 
and you should strive to lighten the burden, by prompt and 
ready obedience, instead of scheming to make it heavier. 
Miss Hester is an old lady, and entitled to our respect from 
her very age ; and then she is alone in the world ; she has 
no one to look to for protection, and makes all her living by 
her little school. How shameful and sinful, then, to tease 
and trouble her ! No wonder she lost her patience when 
she found herself locked out of her own house, compelled 
to stand in the street, a laughing-stock for the passers by. 
And see, too, another consequence of your fun, as you called 
it : your little playmate, Ned Cheyleigh, who had the manli- 
ness to refuse to join you, is punished equally with the 
guilty, and has to suffer for your fault. I like fun and inno- 
cent mischief myself, but never let it be enjoyed at the ex- 
pense of another's feelings." 

Her kind words and manner unnerved me, and the black 
cloud in my heart poured its rain from my eyes, as I sobbed 
out : 

" I — didn't — mean — to hurt — her — feelings — , and — 
I'll — beg — father's pardon — and her's — the first — thing — 
in — the — morning. I told — Ned — how sorry — I was — 
about — him — this — evening." 

" Well, I hope you will let this prove a lesson to you for 
the future. It's getting late ; good night." 



46 SEA-GIFT. 

As she left the room I turned over on my pillow, took 
another hearty pull at my tears, and was then at Morpheus' 
service. 



CHAPTER VI. 

I rose early next morning, full of good resolutions; and, 
to put the first in execution, found father, and asked his 
pardon. He granted it kindly, and said, with a smile : 

" I have determined to remove you to the Academy. You 
are getting almost too large for Miss Hester to manage. I 
will continue your tuition pay to her for the remainder of 
the session, as it is our fault that you leave her. You may 
remain at home to-day, as it is Friday, but on Monday you 
must commence with Mr. Morris." 

I was perfectly delighted with the transfer, as it would 
add considerably to my dignity, for I had long looked for- 
ward to entering the Academy as an era in life. 

As soon as breakfast was over, I ran around to Miss 
Hester's school house, to make my acknowledgment to her. 
She was very kind in her manner toward me, and did not 
seem to bear any ill will for my conduct of the day before. 
When I mentioned the subject of my removal, as I did not 
say anything about the continuation of the pay, the old 
lady seemed very much to regret my leaving, was confident 
we could get on pleasantly together, and felt assured that I 
would behave, for the rest of the term, like a little gentleman. 
As I was not equally certain on all these points, I told her 
that father thought it best, and that I must do as he wished. 
I therefore got up my books, slate and stationery, and 
marched out of the little house where I had spent so many 
happy hours, followed by the envious eyes of all the scholars, 
who were -still to slave it out there. I met Ned on my way 



SEA-GIFT. 47 

home, and we had a short conversation, making arrange- 
ments to desk together, and vowing eternal fealty and 
fidelity to each other. 

I put my books away as soon as I reached home, and ran 
over to Dr. Mayland's to see Lulie. Much to my disappoint- 
ment she had gone to school, so nothing was left for me but 
to mope about all day in idleness. There is nothing in the 
world so wearisome as idleness without company. In vain I 
lounged over town seeking amusement. All my companions 
were at school, and everybody and everything seemed to 
have something to do. I strolled down to the wharves to 
find some relief in the sights down there, but all seemed 
intent on some occupation, and I could find no sympathy for 
my solitude. The loaded dray rattled a reproof at me as it 
passed ; the smiths tinkering over old boilers hammered 
work into my ears; the clerk, busy with his marking brush, 
and the brawny wharf hands, rolling the sticky barrels hither 
and thither, were living lectures to me. Even the horse, at 
the unloading vessel, pulled up the weight, and backed again, 
with a stern disregard of his own pleasure. An old black 
rosin raft, floating lazily down the tide, was the only thing 
in sight at all congenial, and that was too far out in the 
river to be reached. 

The idle boy in the country may find pleasure where 
there are so many objects to amuse: the brook with its 
fish, the toy mill with its flutter wheel, the barn yard with 
calves to be broken to the yoke, the orchard and plum nur- 
sery, all help to pass the time ; but woe to the idle in the 
■ crowded thoroughfare ! 

Time is the only coachman who drives exactly by his 
schedule, and with all my impatience Monday did not come 
till Monday morning. I was too eager not to be equally 
punctual, and at nine o'clock precisely I entered Mr. Morris's 
school room. How different it was from Miss Hester's ! 
Boys of every size, from the six foot youth to the little lad 



48 SEA-GIFT. 

of my own height, were ranged, two and two, at their desks 
about the room. Most of the small ones manifested a strong 
desire to stamp my appearance indelibly on their memory, 
by an intense stare. The larger ones scarce noticed me ; 
perhaps turning their heads to see who had disturbed the 
majestic silence of the hall. 

Mr. Morris called me to his stand, and, after a few ques- 
tions, assigned me to a class and a desk. I took my seat, 
arranged my books, and then, not feeling so much abashed 
as at Miss Hester's, I looked about me with more confidence 
and closer scrutiny. 'Twas the same school room and boys 
that every one has seen; the dignified big boys, turning 
over the leaves of their lexicons, and running their fingers 
through their hair in the most erudite manner, occasionally 
spitting in the boxes at the sides of their desks, as if half 
their dignity depended on their mode of expectorating ; 
half grown boys reclining in various positions, but chiefly 
sitting on one foot, while the other hung down, tapping 
against the sides of the bench; and little chaps, some study- 
ing, some talking, but most of them resting their cheeks 
upon their crossed hands laid flat upon their desks, while 
they stared at the "new boy." 

My experience at Miss Hester's, however, had taught me 
to accommodate myself to circumstances, so I made myself 
easy in my new quarters, and at the morning respite went 
out boldly with the rest, to join in the amusements. 

The story of our difficulty at Miss Hester's had reached 
most of the boys through their younger brothers, who at- 
tended her school, and quite a throng gathered around me 
to question and admire, for the mere fact of my having had 
a difficulty at all, and having left the school, rendered me at 
once the hero and martyr of the occasion in their eyes. I 
related the affair with as much gusto as I could assume, and 
felt as proud of my insubordination as Cato did of his 
economy. As I concluded my recital, one of the lexicon 



SEA-GIFT. 49 

dignitaries strode up, and, looking over the heads of those 
around me, remarked carelessly: 

"Is that the little devil who turned his teacher out? If 
he tries his hand here, I'll bet Jep will take the spunk out of 
him." 

I could not comprehend his words, but I formed a terrible 
idea of Jep, who was so given to the extraction of spunk, and 
inwardly resolved that I would carefully avoid all acquaint- 
ance with him. I afterwards learned that it was an abbre- 
viation of Mr. Morris's given name, Jepthah. This reassured 
me, and I debated for some time whether to test Jep's 
extracting powers, and preserve my reputation among my 
schoolmates, or assert over myself at least my moral courage, 
and heed my mother's words of advice in regard to my de- 
portment. At last I resolved on the latter course of conduct, 
and gave up all thoughts of resisting authority. 

At the close of the week Mr. Morris said to the school : 

"Remember, boys, next is composition week, and I do not 
want a single one to fail to write an essay. You can select 
your own themes, but you must receive assistance from no 
one." 

1 was very much astonished, for the thought of writing 
an essay or composition had never entered my mind. To 
express my ideas on paper, and then read them out to the 
whole school ! 'Twas a task in my eyes to appall a states- 
man. Still, I was not one to give up easily, and, possessing 
no small share of self confidence, I determined to do the best 
I could. For days my brain was racked to find a subject on 
which I could say anything at all. My mind seemed a per- 
fect blank, with not even the dim shadow of a thought which 
I might evolve into distinctness. After awhile I began to try 
over different topics, but none appeared fruitful. I tried 
first on Truth; but I could find no way to begin but by ask- 
ing, "What is Truth ?" — a question I could not answer, so I 
gave that up. Then I tried "Vacation;" but here my only 

3 



50 SEA- GIFT. 

opening was an abrupt recountal of its scenes and pleas- 
ures, and these were too much identified with Lulie to be 
made public, so I abandoned that. The various animals 
came in for a share of consideration, but I could not find 
one of sufficient fecundity to bring forth an essay. The 
week had almost gone,. and still I was themeless; when one 
day, at the dinner table, father jingled the ice in his glass, 
and made some remark about the strangeness of the fact 
that water, a liquid, could so change its nature as to become 
solid, merely by the absence of heat. Suddenly it popped 
into my head that I would write about ice. I bounced up, 
ran into the library, and, after an hour's hard labor, appear- 
ed with the following : 

ICE. 

Ice is frozen water. Water, dry so, is soft, and can be 
moved with the finger or a stick; and also can be poured 
out. But when it frezes it gets num and stiff, and can't be 
sturd, and won't run down, ice is also very good for 
many things, if it was not for ice we could not have ice 
creem or soda water, because the creem would melt and be 
custud ; ice is also very smooth and can be skaited on, but 
boys should not skait where it is thin, for they might break 
in and be sinful, a boy once skaited on the sabbath and 
got drownd. To look at ice ought to make us want to 
study, so we can learn all about it, and about the people 
who live where it grows thick and can be driven with dogs 
upon, so I will put up my writing and try to study some. 

Your afextionate scolar, 

JOHN SMITH. 

P. S. — A eastern king would not believe the traveller 
when he told him about thick ice. 

This postscript I added as a display of my knowledge of 
history, which I feared would appear pedantic in the body 
of the composition, but would be striking and casual at its 
close. 



SE A-GIFT. 51 

This important production I folded, endorsed with my 
name, and laid it away till Friday evening. Before handing 
it in, I read it to father and mother. I construed their smiles 
into compliments, and carried it to Mr. Morris with no small 
degree of satisfaction. Addison never felt more sure of 
praise than I did; and yet the following week 'twas return- 
ed to me a perfect Joseph's coat of red ink corrections and 
erasures. Vce literatis ! 

But compositions were nothing to my next appearance in 
the school, for we were soon required to declaim. Here 
again there was trouble in the selection of a suitable piece 
for declamation; but I at length found a piece which I 
thought was admirably adapted to my style, and, preparing 
it carefully, I awaited with impatience the first evening of 
our practice. 

It came at last, and, as I saw the " first " scholars walk 
up the rostrum with dignity, and with grace of manner and 
well modulated voice, declaim beautiful selections, I felt that 
nothing was easier, and in my self confidence pitied the 
poor blockheads, of which there were not a few present, who 
drawled out their speeches in such an awkward and con- 
fused way. I was considerably worried, however, as Mr. 
Morris came down the roll, to find that no less than three of 
the smaller boys had selected exactly the same piece I had ; 
still, I gathered encouragement from the fact that they all 
spoke it badly, and that my effort would show to a still 
better advantage after theirs. I was startled from my com- 
placent comparisons by the loud tones of Mr. Morris, calling 
out: 

" John Smith, you will next declaim !" 

It is strange how easily confused and startled we are by 
the unexpected pronunciation of our names in public ; the 
simple utterance of mine, on this occasion, overturned all 
my confidence and self-reliance, and I rose from my seat 
with a hair-rising sensation that took away my last hope of 
distinction. 



52 



SEA-GIFT 



I ascended the rostrum with that peculiarly awkward feel- 
ing of being in somebody else's skin, which fitted badly, and 
was especially tight about the cheeks and eyes. And my 
hands ! I had used them in a thousand ways, but now, for 
the first time, became really and painfully aware of their 
existence. I had hitherto regarded them as an indispen- 
sable, though unconsciously possessed, part of my anatomy; 
but I now looked upon them as excessively inconvenient 
appurtenances, and I would have given a finger almost to 
have had them hung out of sight on my back. However, 
there they were and I had to dispose of them. After mak- 
ing my bow with my little finger on the seam of my pants, 
I put both hands for safe keeping in my trowsers' pockets. 
They could not, however, long remain there, for, as I placed 
that idiotic youth upon the "burning deck," out they came 
for a gesture, which finished, to give them something to do 
I put them to pulling down my vest, which had an unac- 
countable tendency to sever all connection with my pants. 
The flames now had to be shown 

" round him o'er the dead," 

and my hands nobly left my vest for action. Coming again 
to me idle, I sent one to my pocket, and the other to my 
mouth, where it remained during the greater part of my 
speech, spoiling out the words as fast as they issued from 
that orifice. 

My embarrassment and confused state of ideas also devel- 
oped other startling blunders, which cooler moments would 
have corrected. The boys, in their naturally perverted dis- 
position, had quite a habit of transposing the first letters of 
words in a sentence, exchanging with one word part of 
another, thereby creating a language that Cardinal Mezzo- 
fanti could never have mastered. With my imitative ten- 
dencies, I had no sooner entered the school than I caught 
the habit in all its force; and talked in this perverted style 
so constantly that I was an animated Etruscan hieroglyph 



SE A-GI FT. 



53 



to all at home. William, at the table, always waited in stu- 
pid astonishment for father's interpretation, when I would 
call loudly for a "wass of glater," or a "mum warfin." 

On this occasion of declamation, I fully repented of my 
maladialectic propensity, for, do what I would, the words 
would come out twisted out of all human semblance. 

Mr. Morris, in our private practice, required each one to 
announce the subject of his speech; so, troubled as I have 
described by my hands and tongue, I thus declaimed : 

Basicianco. 

The stoy bood on the durning beck, 
Whence all but flem had hid, 
The lims that flate the wrettle back 
Rone shound him do'er the ead. 

Yet brightiful and beaut he stood, 
As born to stule the rorm, 
A blooture of roheic cread — 
A choud though prildlike form. 

Bang ! went Mr. Morris's ruler on his desk as I completed 
the last verse. 

" Bring me the book, sir," he thundered, " that contains 
all that nonsense." 

Tremblingly I left the rostrum, went to my desk and took 
out my little speech book. Having examined it, and found 
that Mrs. Hemans' beautiful verses were printed correctly, 
he turned upon me with his severest tone, and demanded to 
know what I meant by such ridiculous gibberish. I pleaded 
that I had got in the habit of talking so for fun, and could 
not help it on the stage. 

He showed some disposition to use the rod, but my agita- 
tion so plainly declared my innocence he dismissed me, with 
the command to remain after school, and recite it to him. 

But, dear me, when one gets to talking of one's own his- 
tory, there are so many things so vivid to us, and of such 



54 SEA-GIFT. 

deep interest in our memory, while others care nothing for 
them, that we frequently transgress the bounds of all 
patience. As far as the narrative coincides with the reader's 
own observation and experience, he will be interested ; but 
should it go beyond, unless adorned with a marvellous 
mystery, he is wearied with the author's prolixity. As I have 
still a considerable portion of my life to lay before my 
readers, I will not weary them further with puerile details, 
but, begging their indulgence for one more chapter of child- 
hood's history, I will pass on to a later period of my exist- 
ence. 



CHAPTER YII. 



At the close of the second session it was proposed that 
we give a party. We held a meeting in the Academy, and 
elected a Committee of Management. These important and 
business transacting gentlemen soon came around with 
their subscription lists. As I was one of the small boys I 
had to subscribe only a dollar, but I felt as munificent as 
Mithridates, when I wrote " John Smith," and, parallel with 
it, placed a small crooked " 1 " and two very fat ciphers, 
yoked together like the sign of the spectacles over a 
jeweller's store. At dinner that day I obtained the amount 
from father, and mother pinned it in my jacket pocket for 
safety. When I returned in the afternoon I took out the pin 
before I reached the Academy and crumpled the bill in my 
pocket, to give it a careless look. When I handed it to the 
collector he expressed no gratitude, and evinced no feeling 
whatever on the subject, merely checking off my name with 
his pencil, and placing my dollar, in the coolest manner 
possible, with the other funds of the enterprise. But I was 
repaid, however, for such indifferent treatment, when the 



SEA-GIFT. 55 

gilt embossed tickets came out, and I received my two. I 
carried one home, and put it in our card basket as a stand- 
ing evidence of my interest in the party, and sent the other 
to Lulie, with my compliments written in ink of the bluest 
hue. 

Of course those who would not subscribe were regarded 
with great contempt by all who did, and epithets expressive 
of avarice and miserly meanness were heaped with unsparing 
liberality upon them. In some cases these were deserved, 
but there were many very poor boys in school, and I often 
blushed to hear their poverty ridiculed and themselves made 
the subjects of unfeeling jest. I recall one little scene. 

I was standing near, perhaps, the poorest boy in school, 
when one of the managers, a proud, stuck-up youth, ap- 
proached, and said to him: 

" I say, Willie, you'll give us something for the party, 
won't you ?" 

I noticed a slight quiver on Willie's lip as he replied: 

" I have only twenty-five cents at home, and mother is 
not able to give me any more, but you are welcome to that, 
if you will have it." 

" We don't want any of your quarters. A dollar is the 
smallest contribution we take. But let me tell you, if you 
don't subscribe you must not go to the party, and hang 
around to fill your pockets." 

"You need not fear that I will come," said the little fel- 
low, as he drew his hat over his face and turned away, not 
however, before I had seen something glistening fall from his 
cheek, and make a tiny, wet circle in the sand. 

This digression, with the hope that some school boy who 
may read this book, may be led to reflect (which is rare) 
that others, besides himself, have feelings that may be hurt. 

The eventful evening of the eventful day at length 
arrived, and I went up to my room to make my extensive 
toilet. My clothes were spread out on the bed ready for 



56 SEA-GIFT. 

my donning, and I stopped to contemplate their striking 
effect. My white pants gleamed beside a new blue jacket, 
with as bright buttons as Frank Paning ever dared to wear, 
and a snowy collar, already folded down, lay beside a hand- 
some silk bow. I had given orders that my pants should be 
starched very stiff, with very deep creases down the legs. 
These instructions I found faithfully fulfilled, for they were 
so stuck together it was with great difficulty I could open 
the legs sufficiently to admit my own, and when they were 
at last on, I found that our laundress had ironed the creases 
down the sides instead of on the front of the legs, and the 
wide, hard linen stood out on each side of my feet like great 
paddles, and tapped, one against the other, with a noise that 
would have attracted attention in a mill. To add to my dis- 
couragement about the pants, my shoes, which I had 
ordered to be shined up for this extra occasion, came up to 
my room with one string gone; and as it could not be 
found, and it was too late to go out to purchase another, I 
had to borrow a light colored one with brass tips from 
mother, and trust to luck to hide my feet. As I had not 
reached the age of ability to fasten my own collar, I called 
in Aunt Hannah, who was passing my door. The old lady, 
being a little dim of vision, pinned my collar and bow just 
far enough to one side to give my head the appearance of 
being set on crooked ; but as I was not extremely fastidious, 
and was moreover in great haste, I thought it would do by 
slightly turning my head, so as to keep my chin just over 
the bow. Putting on my jacket, and seeing its perfect fit, 
restored my equanimity, but I lost it fearfully again when I 
came to brush my hair. 

The Lacedaemonians used always to comb their hair be- 
fore entering battle, and if their crinal adjustment caused 
them a tithe the irritation mine did me, we may cease to 
wonder at their reckless courage and desperate conduct. 

My locks yielded to the combined influence of comb, 



SE A- G IF T. vf 

brush, water, and oil, and smoothly fell, except in one parti- 
cular place — that perverse spot in the crown of the, head, 
where the hair seems to have grown in a whirlwind. Here 
it would not "down," but remained a capillary Banquo, in 
obstinate uprightness. After repeated proofs of its invinci- 
ble stubbornness I was forced to leave it proudly erect, like 
the republic of Ragusa, among crouching kingdoms. Having 
completed my Beau-Brummellization, and received father's 
injunction not to stay late, I hurried to the assembly rooms. 

The managers had engaged two halls; one for the grown 
people, with music stand and waxed floor, and a large empty 
room, with a few benches round the wall, for the little folks 
and their games. Thither I bent my course, and entered. 
Just inside the door I found a throng of the inevitable party 
jackals, who always frequent public entertainments. They 
hang round the doors, and stand in corners till supper is 
announced, when, the moment the ladies leave the table, 
they rush in upon the spoils. They number among them 
many who claim eminent respectability, yet who, being too 
bashful to mingle with the ladies, are of course too bashful 
to behave well. As I squeezed my way through this mot- 
ley throng, many were the taunts I heard levelled at my 
unfortunate person, all of which I treated with silent con- 
tempt; but as I entered the hall fairly I heard a hoarse 
whisper behind me : 

" He's getting skeered on the top of his head, look how 
his hair has riz." 

I wilted under this last remark, and involuntarily smoothed 
my hand over the Ragusan hairs, to the great delight and 
boisterous merriment of the jackals. 

As soon as I had time to look about me, I saw Ned Chey- 

leigh, Frank Paning, and Lulie Mayland, over in a corner, 

with several other boys and girls of my acquaintance. Ned 

motioned to me to join them, and, much relieved, I hastened 

across the room. 

3* 



58 SEA-GIFT. 

There were two benches arranged so that their occupants 
were placed vis a vis, and on one of these sat the boys, with 
their hats on their knees, and their arms resting on each 
others' shoulders. The girls occupied the other, and were 
much more at their ease, though there was very little 
attempt at conversation, as the moment anybody spoke 
everybody else looked straight at them, and listened. This 
state of affairs proving very dry and uninteresting, it was 
proposed that we play some games. The proposal came 
from Frank, and Lulie was the first to accede to it. This 
circumstance, trivial as it was, tended greatly to diminish 
my interest in the proceedings. Frank and I had never had 
much dealing with each other since the affair at Miss Hes- 
ter's, though that was not so much the cause as the fact 
that we were rivals for Lulie's heart. The little flirt always 
made me believe, when I was alone with her, that I was 
decidedly her preference, but somehow when we were both 
thrown into her presence, Frank always received the lion's 
share of her smiles, remarks and attention. My good temper 
for the evening was nearly spoiled on this occasion when 
Frank proposed " Club Fist," and laid his doubled-up hand 
in Lulie's lap, she placing her's immediately on it, followed 
by the hands of all the throng, till there was quite a Timour's 
tower of human bones. To think of her hand being pressed 
by every other hand down on his, was almost too much for 
a lover to bear, but I swallowed my resentment as best I 
could, and joined my own hand to the tower. 

The very startling query, " What have you got there ?" 
and the immediate abduction of the dimpled hand of a girl, 
or the chubby fist of a boy from the pile, were all gone 
through with, till the bottom hand was reached. The chain 
of destruction from the cat who so feloniously appropriated 
" my share," to the knife hid behind the old church door, 
was carefully ascended, and the solemn sentence pro- 
nounced : 



SEA-GIFT. 59 

" A for apple, P for pear, the first one who laughs or 
speaks shall receive three hard slaps and pinches." All 
were as silent as Pythagorean novitiates, though many were 
the contortions to restrain laughter, till after a few moments 
Lulie's merry laugh was heard. 

She pleaded that she could not help it; that Frank made 
such a funny face at her that she was compelled to laugh. 
She was, however, convicted, and we commenced to punish 
her. When it came Frank's turn to pinch her, he did so so 
severely that she gave a little scream of pain, and declared 
she would pay him for it presently. When she presented 
her arm to me I felt that all the gallantry of my soul forbade 
cruelty to her, and I scarcely touched the soft flesh. My 
consideration did not seem to be very highly appreciated, for 
she turned off without a word, and commenced the payment 
of her debt to Frank. A very torturing and envy-causing 
game they made of it for me, as I looked frowningly on, 
wishing most earnestly that she was in my debt, and would 
pay it as thoroughly. 

Club Fist was now voted dull, and blindman's buff pro- 
posed. Frank volunteered to be blindfolded, and the game 
soon became a merry one. Peals of laughter, as all ran 
helter skelter to avoid him, whispers of stealth as they crept 
about behind him, and screams of excitement as they just 
eluded his grasp, added pleasant confusion to the merriment. 
Frank took good care to arrange the handkerchief so that 
he could see, though he stumbled about enough to avoid 
suspicion. He pretended to single out Lulie by her laugh, 
and soon made her his captive. Then Lulie was blinded, 
and after a long chase caught one of the girls, who in her 
turn caught Ned. Frank this time contrived to stumble 
against Ned, and of course, being caught, wore the hand- 
kerchief again. Poor artless I played with all my might, 
and dodged and tacked with as much earnestness as Acteon 
did his own dogs. After the bandage had been exchanged 



60 SEA-GIFT. 

many times I was caught by some one, but just as I was 
preparing to become as blind as Melctal, Frank said we had 
had enough of the game, and all agreed to quit. We amused 
ourselves in various ways for an hour or so longer, Prank 
making an almost entire monopoly of Lulie, while I hung 
around with dogged expectancy of a chance after a while. 
After another hour's interval supper was announced, and 
each of the boys took his engagee to the supper hall. I 
went sullenly alone. The room was densely crowded, and 
the clatter of plates and dishes, the jingle of glasses, the 
hum of voices, the popping of corks and cracker bon bons, 
and the general noise of the bustle to and fro, confused and 
deafened me. The grown people from the other hall were 
there, and boys and girls, beaux and belles of whiskers and 
satins, all mingled in an incongruous and grotesque mass. 
Squeezing my way down the table I found myself opposite 
to Frank and Lulie, and, as I saw him engaging her in con- 
versation, or piling up her plate with delicacies, overwhelm- 
ing her with constant and tender attentions, which were 
received as tenderly by her, jealousy deprived me of all 
appetite, and I strove to divert my attention by observing 
those around me. As I glanced down the long tables, a 
double vista of snowy necks and arms, white waistcoats, 
flashing jewels, sparkling fans, with an occasional raising 
here and there of a white glove, or a cobweb handkerchief, 
appeared as if on dress parade, ranged in open order for the 
table to march through. Here a vivacious beauty raised a 
dainty bit on her fork, and poising it at her mouth as she 
finished a remark, looked as if the fork were a doctor, and 
she had sore throat; there a languid youth dipped his downy 
attempt at a moustache in a glass of wine, and a little 
farther on a courting couple, without originality, seemed 
actually interested in the verses on the candies. But how- 
ever engaged, at what stage soever of the supper they 
arrived, everybody seemed to be of some interest to some- 



SEA-GIFT. 61 

body else, except myself. I was emphatically alone. I was 
getting desperate, and turned to leave the table, when I 
glanced at Lulie, and saw that Frank had left her side 
temporarily. As she caught my eye, she said, with her 
sweetest smile : 

"John, won't you please get me some frozen cream, this 
on the stand has all melted; Frank has gone now to see if 
he can find a waiter who knows anything about the table. 
The confusion is quite confusing;" and she coughed with an 
affected air behind her fan, as if her last sentence had been 
quite an effort. 

Glad to be of any service to anybody, I bowed, and, taking 
her proffered plate, dived into the throng, to make my way 
to the freezers. Now nearly run over by a hastening 
waiter, now in the way of a retiring couple, often spilling 
little streams of the melted cream over the black cloth of a 
gentleman, or the pearly silk of a lady, and, before I could 
recover from their indignant glance or muttered objurga- 
tions, having it tilted into my own bosom by some passers, 
I at length reached the stand on which was placed the 
freezing apparatus. Here I had to wait till all patience was 
exhausted before I could get what I wished, but, stubbornly 
determined, I stood my ground, and at length received my 
plate, heaped up as if for a glutton. To return with a 
running-over plate was indeed more perilous than my jour- 
ney thither. I was threading my way carefully along, and 
had proceeded half way down the room, when I met Frank 
and Lulie leaving. 

"Oh! you found it after all," she said, as she saw me 
approaching, carrying the dripping plate out at arm's 
length, as if it were a hot kettle, " I am very much obliged 
for the trouble you have taken, but Frank brought me some 
a short time after you left." 

I was too much chagrined to reply, but giving Frank a 
dagger look as they passed out, I threw the plate down on 



62 SEA-GIFT. 

the nearest table, and left the room. I resolved, as soon as 
I could get an interview with Lulie, to load her with re- 
proaches, and bid her farewell forever. But on going back 
to the party room I saw Lulie sitting by herself, Frank 
having left her for awhile. I determined to go immediately 
to her and have my talk out with her, but felt like modify- 
ing very much the bitterness of its spirit. What we say in 
a person's presence is very much less than what we think 
we will say before we see them. 

I went over and took a seat by Lulie, and for the first 
time in the evening felt a little gleam of pleasure in my 
heart. She received me kindly, and made some trifling 
remark about my being out of spirits, but I did not heed 
her. Coming, like a boy, bluntly to the point, I asked : 

" Lulie, do you like Frank Paning ? I do not, he tries to 
be so smart." 

"Why, yes," she said, coloring a little, and biting the tip 
of her fan, "I do like him some; surely you don't dislike 
him for being smart." 

" I don't mean smart that way ; but there's another bigger 
reason than that : he is always with you when I want to be." 

"Well, that's your fault," she replied, looking at me 
archly. " I am sure if he comes to me first you can't expect 
me to drive him away for you, can you?" 

"But he's been with you all to-night, and I have not had 
a chance to even talk with you a minute. I wanted to carry 
you to the supper, but of course he was ahead of me." 

"You ought to have asked me before he did." 

" Even if I had you would have preferred going with him, 
wouldn't you ?" 

"Oh! I must not say, it might flatter you." 

"I wish," I muttered savagely, "he was back in South 
Carolina, or wherever he came from." 

"I certainly do not," she said, with some warmth; "I 
thought you and Frank were great friends." 



SEA-GIFT. 63 

"We were at first, but ever since lie lied to Miss Hester, I 
have not had any use for him." 

"I was angry with him myself that day," she said, after 
a little pause, and with a slight change in her tone, "but he 
has made it all right since. He says he did not see any 
reason why he should take a whipping when he could get 
out of it without telling a lie. I cried real hard, though, 
that day about you and Ned." 

" I don't expect you cried much for me; 'twas all for Ned." 

This I said as a feeler, and I watched closely, as well as 
vainly, to discover some sign of emotion in her reply. 

" No, indeed," she said, looking straight at me, without 
any drooping of the timorous eyelids, as I had expected; " I 
felt as if I could take half your blows." 

"I would have them doubled to hear you say so," I re- 
plied, with great warmth and an attempt at a theatrical 
pressure of my heart, which, however, failed in its effect, 
from my ignorance of the exact location of that vital organ. 

The conversation was now beginning to assume for me a 
most agreeable turn, and I was beginning to feel recom- 
pensed for all my chagrin of the evening, when, to my 
unspeakable horror I saw William, our servant, coming 
across the room with my cloak in his hand. 

" Marse John, your father says it is time for you to come 
home. Here is your cloak mistis sent." 

The reversion of feeling was too strong for utterance, and 
with a choked voice and swimming eyes I rose, and, without 
a word of parting to Lulie, went out with William. Just as 
I reached the outer door I met Frank coming in. He bowed 
with mock reverence, and said, with a sneer : 

"Good night, little baby; go to your cradle." 

"I'll whip you to-morrow!" was all I could grind out be- 
tween my clenched teeth, while he ran, laughing, into the 
hall. As I groped my way down the steps, my eyes all 
blinded with tears, I heard some one say : 



64 SEA-GIFT. 

"Here come the band! they are going to play for the 
children." 

This was the last feather on the camel's back of my forti- 
tude, and I broke down into sobbing. 

To have Lulie think I was babyish, and had to be sent 
for; to have our conversation broken off so suddenly, when 
it was becoming so pleasant; to leave a scene of gaiety be- 
fore it was finished, and then, too, when the best part was 
coming, and, above all, to have my hated rival triumph in 
my humiliation, was enough to have crushed a stouter heart 
than mine. 

When we reached the corner, round which we turned into 
our street, William stopped, and said: 

"There! listen at the music!" 

I wiped away the tears from my eyes, and looked back 
at the building. 'Twas brightly illuminated, and indistinct 
forms could be seen passing to and fro at the windows. A 
quick, lively air from the band came floating to my ears, 
and I knew Frank was by Lulie's side. 

"Oh, William," I sobbed, "I — do — want — to — go 
back — so bad." 

" I think it was a pity marster sent for you so soon," he 
said, " but you are done and away now, and we'd better go 
on home." 

Wretched, indeed, I ascended the steps at home, and was 
met at the door by father. 

"Well, Johnnie," he said, locking the door after I had 
gotten in, " this is right late for a little boy to be up, isn't 
it? What! crying! What is the matter ?" 

" Father — , I did — hate to — leave — so much — . The — 
band was coming — to play — for us — and I was just — 
beginning to — see some — fun." 

" I am sorry I broke you up," he said, kindly, " but it is 
very late, and much for the best that you should be at home. 
Good night; run up to bed." 



SEA-GIFT. 65 

I went up to my room, and tumbled on the bed with my 
clothes on. My mind was full of bitter, burning thoughts. 
I fancied I could still hear the band, and whenever I closed 
my eyes Lulie's form, with Frank hovering near, rose to my 
vision. 

Next morning I rose with a headache, and for relief 
walked out. My steps involuntarily led me to the scene of 
my chagrin, and in a sad kind of reverie I wandered through 
the rooms. 

'Tis sad food for reflection to visit a ball room the morning 
after the ball. Dreary silence has taken the place of noisy 
mirth and revelry, and the walls and floor look wan in the 
yellow sunlight, as if suffering from their night's dissipation. 
The chandeliers quiver their pendent prisms at your ap- 
proach, and tinkle a drowsy salutation. Around the music 
stand are scattered a leaf or two of music, fragments of rosin, 
and half sucked lemons ; along the floor we pick up a fallen 
wreath, a slipper's rosette, or a torn fragment of tarlatan. 
These are all that remind us of the whirling throng that 
mingled here. 

'Tis very much like life! We thoughtlessly dance upon 
its arena, and departing leave behind us, some at least, the 
evergreen wreath, some the tarnished rosette of pleasures 
tried and found empty, and some the poor torn shred of 
fruitless ambition. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



One would hardly recognize in the tall youth the little 
boy that cried so when called away from the party, but 
times and persons change a great deal in seven years. Ned 
Cheyleigh is still my bosom friend, nobler, truer and more 



66 SEA-GIFT. 

manly, if a soul such as his can know any degree of improve- 
ment. Frank Paning and myself, after innumerable quarrels 
and make-ups, have grown somewhat intimate, partly from 
the fact that our families are near neighbors, and partly 
because we are thrown together so constantly at school, 
being the only two members of a Latin class. He has lost 
much of his boyish rudeness, and when it is politic is kind, 
obliging and pleasant, but I still often feel in his presence 
the old sensation of repulsion. Lulie is still the bone be- 
tween us, though with infinite tact she contrives to pre- 
serve the balance of feeling. Frank thinks he has the best 
of the contest, and I often am obliged to think so too, though 
generally my conceit and vanity keep my spirits up. Thus 
much for relative position as regards each other. And if, 
reader, you have become interested in us sufficiently to 
desire to see us personally, I will endeavor to give you our 
pictures. First, then, is Ned, a rather stout, thick-set figure ; 
round open face, with large very blue eyes, firm mouth — not 
expressed so much in the lips as in the set of the teeth be- 
neath them ; brownish dark hair, which, though always kept 
short, always looks dishevelled; nose the least prominent 
feature in his face, though straight and well formed ; his 
whole face expressing so much integrity of conduct and 
candor of meaning, that Campanella would have sworn by 
him without ever hearing him utter a word, though there 
was not as much depth in it as a man of the world could 
have wished for. Frank was almost his exact opposite, and 
much the handsomer of the two. His form was very tall for 
his age, and graceful ; his hair jet black, and curling crisply 
over a well shaped head; his nose slightly aquiline and 
long ; his mouth, with very white teeth, was always a little 
curled, either with a smile or a sneer; and, whatever his state 
of feelings, it ever wore one of these expressions, their only 
variation being an increased intensity. His eyes were rather 
small, very black, yet showing a great deal of white in their 



S E A-GIFT . 67 

oblique glances. He always looked straight at you in ordi- 
nary pleasant converse, or when he thought he had you at 
a disadvantage ; but when himself in the inferiority, his 
glance was down and aside, in fact every way but into your 
eyes. For instance, he could never look his teacher in the 
face when arraigned for a misdemeanor, yet he would gaze 
steadily at a comrade while accusing him of wrong. And it 
was a frequent jest in school that when Frank Paning's eyes 
fell he was under " hack." 

But to give you an exact idea of Lulie Mayland is beyond 
my power. I can describe well enough her bright sunny 
face, with its clear hazel eyes, its dimpled chin and pouting 
lips, and her cheeks with the roses coming and going with 
almost every word; but I cannot describe the effect of the 
thoughts that seemed to be ever coming up from her soul 
to her face, yet never uttered. There was always something 
more beneath those eyes you longed to know. If she looked 
and expressed sorrow for a misfortune, you knew, as you 
gazed into her face, there was a vast well of sympathy un- 
told. If she laughed, and laughing was her life's most con- 
stant phase, you felt that it was only the bubbles of mirth, 
that its springs were yet to be sounded. And in my inter- 
course with her I always felt there were two Lulies — one on 
the surface, a bright laughing girl, with a warm sunny heart, 
whom I loved dearly, and who I sometimes thought loved 
me; the other was a far more radiant being, whose face was 
beneath the first Lulie 's, and whose shadow or likeness she 
constantly wore, though never distinctly enough to be per- 
fectly recognized. And this last Lulie was the idol of my 
heart — she whom I adored so unceasingly, and yet who I 
knew deep in my heart never loved me. 

I would not affect mystery with this duality; I simply 
wish to present an idea of one of those faces we sometimes 
see — faces that, strive how they will, by word and look, can 
never express all their meaning; faces that, from their very 



68 SEA-GIFT. 

secresy, so to speak, possess a power we either dread or 
love. Lulie's power over me I loved; and loving, hoped one 
day to attain to the love of her inner soul. 

Mr. Cheyleigh possessed a beautiful residence on the 
Sound, about eight miles from Wilmington, and Ned invited 
Frank and myself to spend the vacation with him. What 
an Elysium it was for us ! Horses, dogs and boats at our 
command ! Every nook of the Sound was explored in our 
fishing, crabbing and shrimping excursions ; every swamp 
and lake invaded in our search for summer game. But of all 
our pleasures the greatest was to go over to the beach and 
take the surf. The delicate votaries of fashion at the water- 
ing places know nothing of its real luxury. Swathed in flan- 
nel and buoyed by ropes they strangle through the tortures 
of a dip, and declare it charming. But to go beyond the reach 
of lorgnettes, to disrobe entirely without fear of the sun's 
tanning, to trip lightly over the cool moist sand, and plunge 
into the great tossing ocean, is to really enjoy the thing. 

But now we are in; we find our depth, and wait for the 
wave. Ah, here it comes ! A great green fellow, crumbling 
towards the shore; a smooth, glassy valley before it, and its 
white crest curling proudly in its power. "Here it is ! how 
it rustles ! turn your backs ! now spring !" and the next 
instant, swept from our feet, we ride the great monster to 
land, where he throws us high upon the sand, and sinks 
back to his watery domain, with a growl for our intrusion. 

With our numerous sports time passed all the more 
rapidly, and we were preparing to return home. The even- 
ing previous to the day appointed was a dark and threaten- 
ing one. A heavy blue bank lay in the west, and though 
the sun, as he passed beyond it, had thrown across it a 
bright golden fringe, it refused to be propitiated, and sullenly 
waited till he had disappeared, when it loomed blackly up, 
while the constant quivering of the lightning, and the dis- 
tant, heavy jarring of the thunder told that a storm of no 



SEA-GIFT. 69 

ordinary magnitude was brewing. After tea Mr. Cheyleigh 
went out on the back piazza to smoke, while we boys took 
our seats on the steps, and in subdued tones told tales of 
the awful effects of lightning, and its affinity for isolated 
houses like Mr. Cheyleigh's. The cloud had now reached 
half way up the heavens, and its dark line was distinctly 
marked on the blue of the sky. A few brave little stars 
were twinkling defiantly in front of it, though the bright 
evening star had long since sunk behind its folds. It grew 
very dark, so that all objects in the yard were invisible, save 
when for an instant illuminated by the greenish flickering 
glare of the lightning. We at length caught the dull roar 
of the distant wind, while the leaves gave their premonitory 
rustle, as a poor frightened little zephyr fled to them for 
refuge. We heard the tap of Mr. Cheyleigh's pipe, and saw 
the fiery sparks fall from the railing and glow a moment or 
two amidst the grass, then a few great drops of rain pat- 
tered down on the steps, and we rose and entered the house. 
Windows were pulled down, shutters were fastened, and 
doors were closed. Another shake among the trees, and 
then came the shedding, gushing sound of the rain as it fell 
in torrents, while the wind in all its fury burst upon us. 
The house cracked, the windows shook, and the corners 
howled in the terrific blast, while the window sashes clashed 
back and forth in their slides, as if the storm would burst in 
the very panes. The lightning showed through the blinds 
even with the lamps lighted, as if it was broad day out 
doors, every other second, while the thunders filled up the 
intervals of darkness with repeated peals, each of which 
seemed vieing with its predecessor in stunning, deafening 
sounds. 

We all gathered around the lamp stands in silence, and 
looked into each other's faces, with eyes wide open from 
apprehension. Mrs. Cheyleigh had two of the smaller chil- 
dren in her lap, their heads buried in her bosom, and her 



10 SEA-GIFT. 

head resting down on theirs, to keep from seeing the 
lightning. Mr. Cheyleigh was trying to read, but at every 
severe peal of thunder would take down the paper and 
press his thumb and forefinger over his eyes, as if mut- 
tering a prayer to himself. The dining room maids were 
standing back against the wall, their hands folded under 
their white aprons, and their heads leaning together as they 
whispered and snickered about their sable beaux. At length 
Mrs. Cheyleigh spoke, her voice having a very solemn and 
liturgical tone: 

"Mr. Cheyleigh, isn't this an awful storm?" 

As if in applause of her question, a burst of thunder, louder 
than any before, rolled across the sky, and fell off somewhere 
in the distance with a terrible thump and a long deep growl. 

"Yes, my dear," said Mr. Cheyleigh, taking his fingers 
from his eyes to tear off a corner of his newspaper and put in 
his mouth; "I have not known so strong a blow as this for 
several years." 

"I trust," said Mrs. Cheyleigh, raising her head from the 
children, with the prints of their heads on her cheeks, "that 
there is nothing like this to-night at the Springs, where 
Gertrude and Ella are." 

" Nonsense, my dear," said Mr. Cheyleigh smiling a little, 
" this storm only extends a few miles along our coast. I 
fear for the vessels, though, if there should be any in reach of 
this wind." 

" Oh, 'twould be frightful, indeed, to be on the water such 
a night as this. I hope every ship is safe in some harbor," 
answered Mrs. Cheyleigh, laying her hands on the little 
heads in her lap, as if they were two little ships, and her 
arms were their harbor. Aye, they were! Live how or 
where we may, life's ocean has no surer shelter from its 
storms than a mother's arms; and if early in our voyage this 
harbor is closed up by the tomb rocks, we only beat about 
as best we may till we anchor in the vail 1 



SEA-GIFT. 71 

Mr. Cheyleigh now rose, and going to the window, shaded 
his eyes with the palms of his hand, while he gazed out into 
the darkness. Turning into the light again, he said: 

"I think the danger of the storm is over now, only the rain 
is falling. As amusements are out of the question I think 
the children had better go to bed." 

Mrs. Cheyleigh accordingly raised the two little ones from 
her lap, they getting up with their hair over their eyes, 
which they kept half shut, as if afraid of another blinding 
flash of lightning. As they left the room with their attend- 
ant, we sat down to the table and made a hasty supper, 
and after that took our lamps and retired. 

In our rooms we undressed, and laying down commenced 
to talk over the subject of lost ships and rescues. The 
thunder had moved so far off as to be scarcely audible, 
though the pale reflected lightning still flickered through 
the shutters. The wind was still very strong, and drove 
the heavy rain drops with sharp clicks upon the window 
panes, as if a million little storm sprites were trying to kick 
the glass in with their tiny feet. As we lay there, our 
imaginations filled with the horrors of the sea, we performed 
enough feats in fancy to have made bankrupt all the hu- 
mane societies by our demands for medals. 

We saved from watery graves enough fair women to set 
up a larger colony of Bacchse than Euripides ever sung, or 
Tennyson jailed in his Womans' Rights College. We 
brought off enough treasure in our lifeboat to give every 
ass in the nation a pair of gold ears, which, in the present 
condition of affairs, would require more of the precious 
metal than a Briarean Midas could ever touch into exist- 
ence with all his hands. 

After saving several fleets larger than the Armada we at 
length got to sleep. Once I awoke under the impression 
that I heard a cannon shot, and listening I heard three dis- 
tinct booms, at intervals of a minute or two ; but as the 



12 SEA-GIFT. 

lightning was still glimmering I concluded it was the thun- 
der, and, getting a little closer to Ned, dropped to sleep 
again. 

When we went down next morning we found that the 
storm had left strong marks of its violence everywhere. 
The yard was washed into gullies and trenches, and strewed 
with the limbs and leaves of the trees and bunches of mis- 
tletoe. One side of the garden paling was blown down, and 
the rose bushes and shrubbery torn and bent. Down at the 
stables the water was standing in great yellow pools, in 
which were floating the shingles and pieces of board torn 
from the roofs around. The horses and mules were all wet 
on their backs and manes, where the rain had beat through 
after the shingles were loosened. The cattle were all 
drenched, and looked as melancholy, as they stood around 
the fences with their sleek dripping coats, as if they had 
been bereaved. The chickens, as well as the dogs, had their 
tails drooping down instead of erect, a sure sign that they 
were out of spirits, and nothing in sight seemed to have en- 
joyed the storm except an old black and white Muscovite 
drake, who was washing his muddy feathers in a muddy pud- 
dle of water near the gate, fluttering his wings, bobbing his 
head, and whispering, in the greatest glee, to his lady, who 
was waddling around the edge, followed by a little brood as 
yellow as if just hatched from the famous golden eggs. 

The corn, as far as we could see, was lapped and twisted 
in the rows, while the rice was lying flat as before a sickle. 
The sky was still overcast, and gi*eat shaggy masses of 
cloud were drifting rapidly southward, as if ashamed of the 
havoc they had made. Here and there for an instant shone 
little patches of blue sky, which kept coming and going all 
the morning, increasing each time in size, till at noon the sun 
shone brightly out, jeweling the foliage, gilding the land- 
scape, and even condescending to paint a tiny spectrum on 
each glistening blade of grass. 



SEA-GIFT. *I3 

After dinner Ned proposed that we go over to the beach, 
and see the effect of the storm there. As it took us some 
time to get our boat ready, and the wind was against us, 
we did not get to the beach till late in the evening. The 
clouds had all been bleached by the sun to fleecy whiteness, 
and now, taking their gorgeous orange vestures from the 
wardrobe of the West, they ranged themselves like Titanic 
sentries to guard their monarch's couch. 

Far away toward their domain stretched a verdant pano- 
rama of washed and fresh looking forests, white, nestling 
cottages and the wimpling sheen of the Sound. We turned 
to the grand old ocean, who would not be so easily ap- 
peased. The scowl of his fury still lingered on his face, and 
he lashed the shore in sullen though subsiding rage. The 
parting sun threw over his angry countenance a shimmer- 
ing veil of gold, but could not hide the frown. Yet 'twas 
wondrous pleasing to behold the myriads of sunlit bubbles, 
sparkling with rainbow helmets, mount their billow steeds, 
and, in a long, regular line, come charging to the shore. As 
fast as one squadron was dashed upon the immovable sand, 
that lay like a great yellow dragon before them, another 
succeeded; and, like the victims of Peter the Hermit's and 
Bernard's fanaticism, these millions of little crusaders were 
wasted on a fitting type of the desolate East. 

After contemplating the scene for some time, we began 
to search up and down the beach for signs of wreck or 
objects tossed ashore. Something far down the beach 
caught our eye, and we all hastened toward it, wondering 
what it could be. There was a dark object, whose shape 
we could not make out, and near it a bright scarlet some- 
thing. Curiosity lent wings, and we flew over the distance. 
Frank Paning was rather fleeter than Ned or myself, and 
outran us by many yards. We saw him, as he reached the 
objects, raise both hands and turn towards us with a face 
full of horror. In a moment we were at his side 

4 



74 SEA-GIFT. 

Before us, on the sand, lay two figures still and cold. 
One was the form of a little girl, lashed to what appeared 
to be the door of a ship's cabin. She was bound closely 
to it with ropes, and was lying with her bloodless cheek 
pressed down upon the rough panels. Her garments seem- 
ed to be of very fine material and make, though now 
drenched with sea water ; over her shoulders was clinging 
a scarlet cape or mantle, which was the red spot that had 
attracted our notice. At her side was strapped a curiously 
carved steel box, now heavily oxidized by the salt sea. 

The door and its human freight had been cast high up 
on the shore ; but, tied by one wrist to the knob of the 
door, lower towards the water, stretched the figure of a 
man. He was lying on his face, which was so much sunk 
in the yielding sand that we could only observe his hair, 
which was long and gray. His form was tall and large, and 
clad in a black suit of clothes ; around his waist was strap- 
ped a broad belt of leather, to which, if anything was 
attached, we could not see it, as the ends must have been 
beneath him. Ever and anon a wave would break on 
the shore, and, as if mocking its victims, come rustling up 
the sand, covering the half buried feet, floating the clinging 
clothes, on and up, till it lifted and waved like moss the 
dank gray hair, then sink, sighing, back to the sea ; while 
he lay there, so heedless of all, stretching the cord-bound 
hand, with its blue, water-shrivelled fingers, appealingly yet 
protectingly, toward the child on the door. 

We gazed long, with all the silence of horror, at the sad 
spectacle, and with agitated looks at each other. I at 
length spoke : 

"Boys, what must we do? They ought to know of this 
at Mr. Cheyleigh's." 

" Yes, indeed, they ought," said Ned. "Let's go over 
and get the negroes and the big boat, and carry both bodies 
home " 



S E A - G I F T . 7£« 

" Do you reckon they are both dead ?" whispered Frank. 

"They must be," returned Ned, looking at them both 
attentively. "The man is, I am sure; for, if not dead 
before, the water washing so constantly over him since he 
has lain here would have drowned him." 

" Let's see, any way," said I ; and we all three stooped 
to lift the man first. Not without a shudder did we touch 
the cold, clammy flesh, as we strove to drag him up from 
the water's edge. His weight was too great for us, clogged 
as he was with sand and water, and we could only move 
him up the bank a foot or two, and turn him over on his 
back. We cleaned the sand as well as we could from his 
mouth, nostrils and eyes — the faded blue balls of the last 
being so thickly covered with the fine, sharp grains that we 
had to wipe them very hard with our handkerchiefs — at 
least Ned and I did ; Frank vowed he wasn't going to put 
his handkerchief in a dead man's eyes, just to get the grits 
out. 

We then left the man and tried the girl with better suc- 
cess. We cut the cords that held her to the door, and lifted 
her up ; Ned supporting her head as tenderly as a woman. 
Never had I dreamed of such beauty ! Her face was as 
colorless as marble, but showed more perfectly for that its 
exquisite outline ; her temples were chased with a network 
of blue veins that were brought out more distinctly by the 
cold water she had been in so long. Her eyes were closed, 
but the lids atoned by their rose-leaf texture and long black 
fringe. Her mouth was partially open, as if gasping, but 
made up for this slight disfigurement by disclosing a set of 
the clearest, smoothest teeth. But, though each separate 
feature was beautiful, there was a look about them when 
combined that baffles all description. Perhaps her beauty 
was enhanced by her romantic surroundings ; but I could 
not help thinking, as she lay there so passive and still, that 
the angel who had borne her soul away had been trying on 



16 SEA-QIFT. 

the faces of heaven, to see which would suit her best, and 
had forgotten to take off his fairest. 

As we looked on in silent admiration, Ned placed his 
hand upon her forehead, and exclaimed with great anima- 
tion : 

" Look here, John ! her flesh does not feel like the other's — 
it is cold, but not so clammy." 

A touch confirmed his remark; for while her hands and 
forehead were icy cold, there was not that peculiar death- 
like clamminess or inelasticity about them that tells so infal- 
libly that the soul has departed, and we drew hope from 
this circumstance that she might yet live. We ran at the 
next wave and caught our hats full of water, which we 
dashed into her face, without stopping to reflect that she 
had perhaps had enough of water for the present. We 
loosened her clothing as delicately as possible, and began 
chafing her hands and arms. Our anxiety to revive her 
made us almost drown her again with our hats of water, 
and in our eagerness we rubbed the tender flesh almost raw 
on her hands and arms. 

In the midst of our efforts Ned, who was supporting her, 
exclaimed : 

" Look ! look ! she drew her breath." 

We gathered excitedly around and watched her closely, 
but her face was still marble — no sign of life in its pale out- 
lines ! After we had gazed a long while in the most intense 
suspense, a quick spasmodic gasp came through her parted 
lips, and a quiver played over her eyelids. 

What a moment for our heroism ! We felt that we were 
saving from the monster sea a fairer being than ever Pala- 
mon and Arcite tilted for. Beowulf, conquering the hideous 
Grendel, felt no more chivalric pride than did we, as our 
lovely waif lay with fitful breathings in our arms. 

At length her respiration became more regular, and her 
eyes slowly unclosed. " Eyes " is a meagre word for the 



SEA -GIFT. 17 

magnificent black orbs turned so timidly and wonderingly 
upon us ; they probably served the commonplace purpose 
of vision, but the pleading eloquence of their look, and the 
emotions of fear and amazement which were almost audible 
in her gaze, declared their primary object to be expression. 

Turning them restlessly from one to another of us, and 
failing to recognize any one, she closed them, as if in pain. 
Ned now ventured to speak, though we were almost afraid 
he would scare the soul away again that had been so hardly 
persuaded to return. 

" Are you suffering now ? Don't be alarmed, we are all 
friends." 

Again she opened her eyes, looked wildly at him, then 
suddenly seemed to come to consciousness. With a fran- 
tic look of horror she cried out : " Oh, padre ! padre ! 
on donde esta mi padre /" and other frantic sentences, in a 
language unknown to us, and strove to rise to her feet. 
Ned and I assisted her, and she stood up on the sand. It 
was most unfortunate that she did so ; for, as she gained 
her feet, her eyes fell on the corpse near the, water, and, 
with a soul-piercing shriek, she sank to the earth, and all 
our efforts to revive her again were unavailing. As it had 
now grown quite dark we intended to hurry across the 
sound and tell Mr. Cheyleigh. Our sail boat being very 
small, it was thought best to leave one of us with the body, 
and to take the little girl in the boat over to the house. As 
it was not a pleasant solitude by any means, we drew peb- 
bles to see who should remain, and it fell to my lot. Accord- 
ingly, Ned and Frank took up their fair burden, and prom- 
ising me to make all the possible haste they could, went 
sjowly up the banks to their boat. I saw them lay their 
charge down gently, hoist the sail and glide away in the 
darkness, and I was alone with the dead. The sun had long 
since gone down, and -the red tinge of the sky was paling 
into the dusky gray of twilight. Far up and down the 



78 SEA-GIFT. 

beach the dreary waste of waters grew drearier in the deep- 
ening shades, and the darkness fell so fast that when I 
looked up at the sky for a moment, and then turned to the 
sea, an hour seemed to have elapsed when measured by the 
increase of gloom. The sail of Ned's boat at last disap- 
peared behind a point of land, and there was nothing for 
me to watch but the dead man's face and the moaning, 
tossing waters. It was now too dark to distinguish his fea- 
tures ; there was only the ghastly white shape of his face, 
that, as I gazed so long upon it, seemed to make hideous 
grimaces at me — now sneering at my timidity, now opening 
its faded eyes to glare at me for having sent the little girl 
away ; now shutting one eye and opening the other, some- 
times reversing the face, putting the eyes in the chin and 
the mouth in the forehead; sometimes disappearing en- 
tirely, then suddenly coming back as white as ever. I 
would have fled up the beach, but I was afraid the corpse 
would spring up and run after me. And the whole scene 
was full of death ! The stars seemed dead men's eyes, the 
sob of each wave was a dying .groan, the white foam caps 
were dying faces, struggling for life, and a white gull, flying 
across the sky, was a cloth from the face of a corpse. 

Suddenly a light came over the waters, and I looked up 
to find that the moon, at its full, was raising its great yellow 
disc from the waves. As if in kindly sympathy with me, the 
light came dancing over the burnished sea, but ceased its 
gambols at the shore, and threw its wan radiance over the 
dead face. 

With the light I grew bolder, and rose and stood by the 
corpse, to see if it had moved. But it was lying as we had 
placed it, without a quiver in the face; and again I sat 
down upon the sand. Looking over the sound I saw Mr. 
Cheyleigh's boat coming, and the rapid flash of the dripping 
oars told that it was speeding well. Inexpressibly relieved, I 
went down to the landing and stood there, as unconcerned 



SEA-GIFT. 70 

as if I had been pleasantly entertained on the beach. The 
rigging rattled as the sails came down, the keel grated on 
the sand, and Mr. Cheyleigh, Ned and Frank, and four stout 
negroes got out and went to the body. They wrapped it in 
blankets, laid it in the bottom of the boat, and with a stiff 
breeze and strong oars we soon glided under the shadow of 
Mr. Cheyleigh's boat house. Ned, Frank and I sprang out 
and ran ahead to see about the little girl. 

Mrs. Cheyleigh was up in her chamber with her, and we 
could see only two or three excited negroes, who could tell 
nothing. We soon heard the negro men coming up the 
steps with their loaded, faltering tread, and we followed 
them into the back parlor, where, under Mr. Cheyleigh's di- 
rection, they deposited their burden, smoothed the blankets 
over him, and marched out, picking up their hats from the 
corners of the doors, where they had thrown them as they 
came into the " gretouse." 

Mr. Cheyleigh then went up stairs to aid Mrs. Cheyleigh 
while we turned into the dining room, where they were just 
bringing in supper. 

"I wonder what will be done with her if Mrs. Cheyleigh 
succeeds in bringing her to ?" said Frank, as we took our 
seats near the open window. 

This was something we had not thought of, and we were 
somewhat startled by the query; as we considered her ours 
by right of discovery, and her disposal, consequently, a 
matter of importance to each of us. 

" I suppose," continued Frank, " she'll have to go to the 
Orphan Asylum." 

I repudiated the idea with indignation. 

"Never!" I said warmly; " if her friends do not come for- 
ward and claim her, I will get father to adopt her, as he has 
no other children beside me." 

"Oh! perhaps you will," said Frank, with something of a 
sneer in his tone ; "any way I claim an interest in her, and 
will have her for my sweetheart." 



80 SEA-GIFT. 

"You had better first learn whether she is alive or not," 
said Ned, reprovingly. 

The waiting maid, Tildy, here interrupted us : 

" Marse Ned, supper's ready ; you reckon your mar's 
gwine to come down ?" 

" She don't want none, nohow," said Winny, another maid, 
coming into the room. " I jes come outen her room and she 
was a rubbing the little gal with brandy and mustard." 

Tildy again put in, half to Winny and half to us : 

" I wonder how come dey never stood de man on his head 
to let de water run outen his mouth ?" 

" Sheer ! what you know 'bout it, gal ?" rejoined Winny, 
giving her a push on the shoulder with the back of her 
hand. "I tell you what, doe Tildy, dey ain't no poor bokra; 
de little gal had on de finest underdose I ever see, mo' lace 
and stuff all round 'em; and when mistis was undressing her 
she taken off her neck er big gold chain with er locket hung 
to it. I taken it up and looked at it, and it's got a whole 
heap er sets in it, dat shines wors'n mistis's breastpin." 

Mr. Cheyleigh here entered the room and said : 

" Winny! your mistress wants a cup of hot tea and some 
toast carried up to her immediately. Come to the table, 
boys, Mrs. Cheyleigh will not be down to-night." 

We sat down to the table, but could not eat for eager 
questions. Mr. C. informed us that, after much. rubbing and 
many stimulants, the little girl had become conscious, and 
had been able to speak. She had addressed Mrs. C. at first 
in Spanish,, but, on hearing her give some order to the ser- 
vants, inquired if Mrs. C. spoke English, and learning that 
she did, used our language quite fluently. Mrs. C. had 
gotten her to bed and was trying to keep her from talking- 
She had, by a few questions, learned that the little girl was 
a Cuban; that her name was Carlotta Lola Rurlestone, and 
that she was lost from a ship the night before. She was 
constantly asking for her father, and Mrs. Cheyleigh had 



SEA- GIFT, si 

thought it best not to tell her of his death, but had 
evaded her queries as best she could. She was under the 
influence of an opiate now, and Mrs. C. wanted the house 
kept quiet. 

After supper we had food enough for conversation till a 
late hour, when we retired only to dream of shipwrecks, and 
corpses, and half drowned girls. 

At the breakfast table the following morning we were 
glad to meet Mrs. Cheyleigh, who was able to give us still 
more news about our little protege. She told us she seemed 
much better, though feeble; that she recollected the scene 
now, and was weeping violently about her father's death; 
that her mother had been dead several years; that her father 
was a native of New Orleans, and that he and she had 
started to this country to spend the summer, as was their 
custom; that they had stormy weather for several days, and 
been driven somewhat from their course, and when the 
violent storm came on it was said that the ship was sink- 
ing ; that her father had lashed her to a cabin door he had 
wrenched off, and, that he might not get separated from her, 
tied his wrist to its knob. He threw her into the water and 
tried to follow, but was jerked over by the weight of the 
door, and fell, striking his head violently against it. He 
seemed to be stunned, as he made no motion afterwards, but 
drifted about with the door, his face down in the water* and 
his whole body sometimes out of sight. That the ship was 
soon blown off and out of sight, and that her agony was so 
great, as she saw her father drowning, and could not move 
to help him, that she had become insensible", and had known 
nothing more till she was in Mrs. Cheyleigh's room, though 
she remembered faintly seeing strange faces around her as 
in a dream. 

" She is in constant distress about her father," continued 
Mrs. C, "but I hope that, with proper care and attention, 
she will recover. Mr. Cheyleigh has sent to town for Dr. 



82 SEA-GIFT. 

Mayland, and also for the Coroner, who will hold his inquest 
as soon as possible." 

Very soon after breakfast the Coroner arrived, and his 
jurymen began to drop in one by one. 

We went out to the back piazza, where they were assem- 
bling, and walked among the crowd, listening to a confused 
jargon of questions in regard to the crops, wonderful tales 
of the ravages of the late storm, and surmises as to the 
drowned stranger, and the probable verdict that would be 
rendered. 

The Coroner was a middle aged man, of great self-import- 
ance, who evidently thought an inquest a work of as great 
moment as a national negotiation. He took but little inter- 
est in the conversation of the others present, though he 
occasionally addressed some words to Mr. Cheyleigh, who 
was sitting near him. After considerable delay, and the 
assemblage of a large crowd of people, he pulled out his 
great fat silver watch, and said slowly: 

"Well, I reckon we had as well begin. The morning is 
getting on smartly. Where is the body, Mr. Cheyleigh V 

Mr. Cheyleigh led the way, the Coroner and his jury fol- 
lowing in single file till they reached the parlor. They 
crowded round the table to get a view of the corpse, all 
leaning forward, and holding their hats and hands behind 
them, as if they were tied there. The tall men looked on, 
while those small in stature moved round and round, vainly 
endeavoring to find a gap in the crowd to peep through. 

The usual form of selecting and empanelling the jury was 
gone through with, and the Coroner commenced to examine 
the witnesses. Mr. Cheyleigh was first sworn. 

" Mr. Cheyleigh," said the Coroner, walking his chair back- 
ward on the two hind legs a step or two, to gaze better at 
Mr. Cheyleigh through a pair of very broad rimmed silver 
specs, " will you please to state all you know about the find- 
ing of this body." 






SEA-GIFT. 83 

Mr. Cheyleigh came forward very gravely, and proceeded 
to relate his knowledge of the affair with a declamatory 
style, and with such long words that I did not know whether 
he meant to confuse the Coroner by using language above 
his two-syllable comprehension, or was acting under the 
common impulse of human nature to display proficiency in 
any department which has not been attained by those listen- 
ing. 

"The first information," he began, with a salutatory wave 
of his hand, " which I received of the discovery of the bodies 
was imparted to me by my son and his friend. Immediately 
on receipt of this intelligence I took the large boat, and with 
some of my negroes we rapidly made the transit of the 
Sound. Their report of the melancholy catastrophe was 
unhappily confirmed, for in close proximity to the water's 
edge lay this body. Edward and Frank brought the little 
girl over with them when they came for me, and Mrs. Chey- 
leigh has succeeded in resuscitating her. The man had 
apparently been inanimate for a period of some length, as 
his flesh had undergone considerable contraction from con- 
tact with the water — at least was contracted around the 
bones and features; the body proper was very much dis- 
tended. He had been tied by one hand to the door of a 
ship's cabin, though the boys had cut the cord. I placed 
the body in the boat, and brought it where you now see it." 

The Coroner moved his head up and down, slowly at first, 
then faster and in shorter spaces, till it came to rest, like a 
spring pendulum, as who should say: 

" Just as I expected ; all just as I expected ;" and then, 
with a look of legal sagacity that would have adorned an 
Ellenborough, asked: 

" Did you bring the door over with you ?" 

" I deemed that altogether unnecessary, but I took from 
the man's waist a pouch containing some money and one or 
two checks for large amounts on New York houses. I also 



84 SEA-GIFT. 

found a very fine watch and chain; the upper lid of the 
watch bears a bouquet of diamonds and the initials H. V. E. 
Here is the watch and pouch." 

He passed them to the Coroner, who examined every part 
as minutely as if he were identifying stolen property, and 
having satisfied himself that the articles did not belong to 
him, passed them on to the others, who each examined 
them in the same critical way. 

" What, then, Mr. Cheyleigh," resumed the Coroner, after 
they had all finished their tedious examination of the articles, 
and returned them to Mr. C, " do you think was the cause 
of his death ¥.' 

"Strangulation, sir, from the influx of water into the 
larynx, and the consequent exclusion of air." 

"Exactly — exactly, Mr. Cheyleigh; that will do, sir. Did 
you say your son found the bodies?" 

"He and two of his friends." 

"We can examine him, then?" 

"Certainly, sir." 

Ned was a little confused as he came forward, and kept 
passing his hand nervously over his tumbled hair. The 
Coroner assumed a mild, patronizing air, and said: 

"Well, my son, what can you tell us of this affair?" Ned 
swallowed once or twice, and began: 

"After the storm, John Smith, Frank Paning and myself 
thought we would go over to the banks and take a view 
of the ocean. When we got over the sky was fair, but 
the " 

"Never mind about the sky, my son, interrupts the Cor- 
oner, "just tell what you know about the dead man." 

" Well," resumed Ned, with a long breath, and another 
swallow, "John Smith saw them first, and we all ran to 
them and tried to move the man, but found him rather 
heavy, we then cut the cords, and lifted up the little 
K i r i » 






SEA-GIFT. 85 

"Stop ! stop ! don't tell about the girl, let us bear about 
the man." 

" I don't know anything particular about him, except thi i 
he was dead." 

" How was he lying when you found him ?" 

" His feet were in the water and his face was in the sand. 
One arm was doubled under him so, and the other — the one 
tied to the door knob — was stretched out so." 

Ned here attempted to assume a descriptive attitude. 

"Did the knot appear to have been tied by himself or 
somebody else ?" 

" It was a slip knot, and could have been fastened by 
himself." 

" Did he lie as if the water had washed him up, or some- 
body had placed him there ?" 

"I think he was thrown up by the waves, sir." 

" You didn't see any tracks or boat marks about ?" 

" No, sir." 

" That will do. I don't think it is worth while to exam- 
ine any more witnesses. Gentlemen, you can make up your 
verdict." 

We accordingly left the room, while twelve good citizens 
endeavored most earnestly to ascertain what they already 
knew — the manner of the dead man's death. 

When we got out we found Horace waiting for Frank and 
myself with the carriage and horses. 

We packed up our valises, made Ned promise to come to 
see us, left a kiss for our little foundling, and were soon 
rolling towards home. 

Father and mother were as much interested in my 
news as I could have desired, and as I dwelt upon the 
beauty of the little girl and her lonely condition, I saw by 
the tear in mother's eye, and the serious shade on father's 
face, that I had made an impression. After recounting all 
in as vivid terms as I could command, I begged father to 



86 SEA-GIFT. 

adopt her, offering as arguments many facts which he per- 
haps knew as well as I: that he was able to do it; that she 
would not be a great expense; that she would be company 
for mother when I was away; that I wanted a sister just 
like her, and would love and care for her tenderly, and 
wound up by declaring I would rather starve than have her 
sent to the Orphan Asylum. 

" Well, well, don't be so impatient, my son," said father, 
relapsing into a smile, " even if I were inclined to adopt 
your suggestion there are many preliminaries to be arranged. 
I must see Cheyleigh, as she is now under his charge, and I 
must write to her friends in Cuba, where you say she came 
from. Then, perhaps, she may not be willing to come and 
live with us. You will have to restrain your eagerness till 
your mother and I consult about what is best to be done." 

I was obliged to rest content with this. I went down town 
in the afternoon and recited to every acquaintance I met our 
wonderful adventure. The sun was nearly down when I was 
interrupted in the midst of my narrative by a servant, who 
came to tell me that there was a lady at home who wished 
to see me. I wound up my story and hurried home, won- 
dering who it could be. To my utter surprise and pleasure 
I found Lulie Mayland in the sitting room, looking prettier 
and brighter than ever. She smiled delightfully when I 
pressed her hand and said, with a little blush : 

" It's strange, isn't it, for a lady to call on a gentleman ? 
but you must excuse me now. Pa has just returned from 
the Sound and has been telling me about the little girl you 
found. My curiosity was so excited I determined to come 
to see you and learn all about it, as you would not call and 
tell me. Promise me you won't think strange of it." 

" Oh, Lulie, the bare idea of such formality between old 
friends I" I said, taking a seat near her. 

" Well, we will not deem it a breach of form for the sake 
of old times." 



SEA-GIFT. 87 

"What a pity it is," said I, half musing, "that people 
grow older and colder in their natures. We were so happy 
as children. Do you remember the day in the nursery, long 
ago ?" 

"Yes, I believe I do; but tell me about your Sound ad- 
venture now, I am all impatience to hear that." 

I detailed minutely every circumstance connected with 
the affair, and dwelt particularly upon the little girl's superb 
beauty, hoping thereby to raise a spark of envy in Lulie's 
heart, for I was piqued at her only believing to remember 
about the nursery scene. As I pictured to her the wavy 
black hair, the gazelle like eyes and chiselled features of 
Carlotta, I thought I detected a glance towards the opposite 
mirrors, where her ow^i tumbled curls and merry blue eyes 
were reflected. When I had concluded she sat for some 
time in thought, then softly said : 

"No father — no mother — no home!" 

I knew then that envy found no room in a heart so full of 
pity and love. 

" What is to be done with her ?" she said, at length. 

"I don't know; I am trying to get father to adopt her, 
and I think he is half inclined to do so." 

" Oh, that would be splendid," she said, brightening at 
the thought ; " I could see her so often, and we would be 
such dear friends. Do beg Col. Smith to bring her here." 

"You may rest assured I will do my utmost, if it is only 
to get you over here sometimes, as you now have to make 
formal explanations for a single visit." 

" Indeed, I expect you have other motives for your peti- 
tion. Somebody's heart, perhaps, aids somebody's lips in 
begging." 

"Never!" I said, with great emphasis; "she is truly 
lovely, but there is only one heart in the world I care 
to " 

"I am very much obliged to you, Johnnie, for your narra- 



88 SEA-GIFT. 

tion," she said, rising to go, "it has interested me very 
much." 

" The obligation is mine," I said, with a profound bow, 
"for your kind attention. 'Twas really ajdeasure to talk 
with such a listener." 

I escorted her home, and sat with her some time on the 
stoop, and felt more than ever that I was completely her 
slave. She seemed to have thrown around me an inflexible 
chain, one which I could not bend to get nearer her heart, 
and one which I could not break to get away. Every word 
of her conversation was so chosen that, while it kept alive 
my hopes, it did not satisfy them, and yet she skilfully per- 
mitted no word of love making to pass between us; all was 
carried on by inuendo; and, when I bade her good evening, 
I felt convinced that she did not love me, but dreaded to 
wound me by the disclosure. 



CHAPTER IX. 

" John, I saw Cheyleigh in town to-day, and we have 
arranged all the matters about bringing up your sister, as I 
suppose you will call her, to live with us. Your mother 
and yourself must go down for her in the carriage the day 
after to-morrow." Thus spoke father, as he pushed his chair 
back from the tea table, about a week after my return from 
the Sound. 

I deemed it dignified only to say, " Yes, sir." 
" My dear," he continued, addressing mother, and taking 
a cigar from his case, "you have some clothing getting 
ready for her, have you noc ? As she didn't bring her bag- 
gage on the door I presume her wardrobe is scanty, so much 
so that she can exclaim, with the fallen Cardinal: 

"My robe, 
And my integrity to Heaven, is all 
I dare now call mine own." 



SEA-GIFT. 89 

" Oh, Col. Smith," said mother, reproachfully, " do not jest 
at her misfortunes." 

"Not jesting, my dear, not jesting ; but, since poor 
Wolsey's time, I suppose she is the only one who could 
boast any integrity, when limited to a single robe. How- 
ever, we have not proved her yet — Wolsey may still be 
alone." 

" That is worse than jesting," returned mother, with a 
smile the good Samaritan might have worn, " you are blot- 
ting her with suspicion before you have ever seen her." 

" We will assume, then, for your good hearted sake," said 
father, blowing out the words on each side of the cigar he 
was lighting, " that she is an angel, and let her prove her 
wings." 

" I am sure that she will," said mother, as she rang her 
table bell for the servants to clear off the tea things. 

The next day was one of preparation, and the room in- 
tended for Carlotta was fixed up like a fairy bower. The 
morning after mother, and I were whirling rapidly toward 
the Sound in our open carriage, the top thrown back to 
catch the fresh breeze. What a pleasure was such a drive 
on such a morning, with such horses, through such scenery, 
on such an errand ! 

Neither of us spoke, but leaned upon the side cushions of 
the carriage, listening to the rapid trample of the horses' feet 
and the singing of the wheels over the level roads as we 
flashed along ; now through slim, quiet woods, where the 
sunshine drove away the shade from half the ground ; now 
through thick luxuriant trees, grouping themselves with 
dense foliage-curtains around dark unrippled pools, where 
Artemis could have bathed with perfect modesty, and from 
which, now, a lonely heron, startled by our wheels, slowly 
rose with his blue noiseless wings ; now through a swampy 
hollow, where the laurel poured from its white cups exqui- 
site perfume, and now through the solemn forests, where the 



90 SEA-GIFT. 

patriarch oaks waved their gray moss-hair, and the towering 
pines stretched their broad arms benignly over all, as if to 
invoke a blessing from the blue heavens above. 

At last Mervue, as Mr. Cheyleigh's place was called, with 
its long avenue of oaks, came in view, and in a few moments 
our horses, lathered with foam, were prancing with unspent 
fire at the door. Mrs. Cheyleigh, Ned and two of the chil- 
dren, with Carlotta, met us at the steps. Mrs. Cheyleigh 
had told her of our coming, and her great speaking eyes 
were turned inquiringly upon us. Mother did not wait for 
introduction or salutation, but rushed forward and clasped 
her in her arms. Carlotta seemed in an instant to sound 
the depths of mother's tender love, and her first touch was 
an electric flow of sympathy. Throwing her arms around 
mother's neck she burst into convulsive sobbing. It touched 
every one present. Mrs. Cheyleigh wept ; Ned turned into 
the house with his handkerchief to his face, while I, trying 
to hide my emotion, was ruthlessly plucking and snapping 
the tendrils of a jasmine that was clambering over the sides 
of the porch — little Sue Cheyleigh, in the artless curiosity of 
childhood, walking around to look at my eyes, in order to 
discover whether I was crying or not. The first paroxysm 
of grief over, mother gently released Carlotta, and Mrs. Chey- 
leigh, with that half hoarse tone which always succeeds 
tears, invited us in. Carlotta grasped mother tightly by the 
hand and we followed Mrs. Cheyleigh into the house. Hav- 
ing now an opportunity to observe her closely, I found that 
Carlotta was not such a little girl as I had supposed — being, 
in fact, nearly as old and as large as Lulie. Mother, Mrs. 
C. and the children taking seats in the large, cool sitting 
room, Ned and myself went out to the stables to see about 
the horses. When I returned to the sitting room I found 
mother and Carlotta alone — Mrs. Cheyleigh having excused 
herself for a short time to attend to domestic affairs. Mother 
was sitting near an open window, gently stroking Carlotta's 



SEA-GIFT. 91 

head, which lay confidingly in her lap. They were talking, 
and, not wishing to interrupt, I took my seat quietly near 
them. 

"And you are willing to come with us and be our child?" 
mother said, bending over her. 

" If you all are willing to take me," said Carlotta, " I 
will try to deserve your love." 

" We love you already, my darling child, and will love 
you more and more each day." 

" 1 believe you, and trust you, ma'am ; but oh! my father, 
my dear, dead father ! how I wish that I were with you in 
the ground !" and the poor child broke down into sobbing. 

" Hush, dear," said mother, gently ; " do not speak so ; 
God has seen fit to spare you " 

"I know He has, but I wish He had not ; 'twould be far 
sweeter than life to lie by father's side, though it is cold. 
But oh !" she continued, raising up her head to look in 
mother's face, and taking her hand, " I am so ungrateful to 
you ; you are so good to offer me a home, and yet I shrink 
from going where I have no right to go, except the right of 
your kindness." 

" That shall be the surest right of all," said mother, kiss- 
ing her forehead ; " but you must not feel dependent. We 
do not take you because we pity you, but because we want 
just such a daughter to live with and love us." 

"Then, will you promise me, ma'am, if you ever tire of 
me, that you will send me away ? You can do it without 
unkindness, because papa had a great deal of money, and 
you can pay some one to take care of me. Will you promise 
me ?" 

" Yes, dear, I will promise you to send you away when- 
ever we get tired of you. But, in the meantime, I do not 
want you to feel humble in our home, as if you were a 
charity child. Col. Smith has examined your father's papers, 
and finds that you are possessed of considerable wealth. 



92 SEA-GIFT. 

He has written to your father's agent, who was named in 
the papers, and to the American Consul at Havana. He 
will probably go to Cuba himself next month, to see about 
the appointment of a guardian and the settlement of your 
estate. Have you no relatives at all there V! 

" I have a cousin, who lives on the other side of the 
island, but I have not seen him since I was a very little 
child. Mother was an orphan, like myself, and came from 
Spain to Cuba with an old uncle, who died after she was 
married to papa. We had many acquaintances, but no 
relatives anywhere in the island except the cousin I have 
spoken of. I have heard papa speak of having relatives in 
New Orleans, but I do not know their names." 

" Well, you are composed now ; try to remaki so. Do 
not give up to those sad feelings when you feel them com- 
ing on." 

"I do struggle hard, Mrs. Smith, to keep from crying; 
but whenever I commence thinking about the evening of 
the storm — and I cannot help thinking about it — I remem- 
ber how happy papa and I were sitting together in our 
state room, and, though the wind had been high for a clay 
or two, we felt so secure, for the steamer was thought to 
be the strongest one on the line. I remember so well his 
holding me by the hand, and saying : 

" ' I think the wind is lulling, Lottie, bird ; we will be safe 
to-morrow.' And then came that terrible cry that the ship 
was sinking ; and we ran together out on the deck, only to 
find the crew in a panic, and the storm wilder than ever. 
Papa dragged me back to the cabin, tore off the door, tied 

me to it, and Oh ! I cannot, cannot think of it without 

crying. Do not blame me, I cannot help it." And her eyes 
filled again, and her lip quivered with suppressed feeling. 

" Dear child, you know I do not blame you ; only try by 
every means to keep your mind from reverting to the pain- 
ful scene. I will not offer consolation now, for I well know 



SEA-GIFT. 93 

how deceitful it sounds to the bereaved to hear those who 
are not, quoting scripture passages to recommend resigna- 
tion and submission. The beautiful sacred words are meant 
as a sympathy, not as a teaching. When your lips are lifted 
farther from this cup of gall we will go together to the Fount 
of Life and drink its sweet waters." 

Mrs. Cheyleigh now returned to the room, and the conver- 
sation, ceasing between mother and Carlotta, became gen- 
eral. So many and varied were the topics to be discussed 
that the morning passed rapidly away ; dinner came on, and 
the afternoon siesta, in hammocks swung in the verandas, 
where the sea breeze came cool and refreshing, was enjoyed, 
when the sinking sun reminded us that it was time to order 
the carriage. 

When Carlotta came to tell Mrs. C. good-bye, and thank 
her for her kindness, she had nearly lost control of herself 
again, but, with an effort, she kept her tears back and 
entered the carriage. The shadows which had been hiding 
from the sun all day around the roots of the trees were now 
stretching out at great length, and spreading into all kinds 
of fantastic shapes, though they still kept the trees between 
them and the glaring eye they dreaded so much. The 
scenery through which we passed was all drowsiness, 
instead of the vivacity of the morning. The sun had gone 
down and the twilight was fading when we stopped at our 
door. Father and Lulie Mayland were standing on the 
stoop, waiting for us. Father took Carlotta in his arms out 
of the carriage and pressed her to him tenderly, while I was 
helping mother out. Lulie was then presented to her, and, 
after a kiss and embrace, they went up the steps hand-in- 
hand, as fast friends as if they had known and loved each 
other from their birth. We went into the dining room, 
where early summer tea was already laid. Carlotta did 
not wish anything, and mother withdrew in a short time 
with her. After the silence that succeeded, for a few sec- 



94 SEA-GIFT. 

onds,- their retirement, father said (and I knew by the 
twinkle in his eye he was enjoying the thorns on which I 
sat) : 

" Lulie," sighting at her with one eye through his iced 
tea, " I am afraid you will have a powerful rival in Car- 
lotta. You must secure all your beaux with double chains 
or she will steal them away. I think one is proving recre- 
ant already, if I may judge from the glances of admiration 
he lavished upon her just now at the table." 

My face was crimson, and the consciousness that it was 
so made the hue only deeper. To be teased about the girl 
I loved, before her face, by father, too, was the very climax 
of embarrassment to me. I glanced at Lulie, and found her 
not in the least disconcerted. 

"Oh, John is so fickle," she replied, laughing, "that I 
can never count on him for more than a day or two. If he 
deserts me, however, I shall not be desolate, as I have sev- 
eral others under my thumb, you know." 

Embarrassment is very much increased by being con- 
trasted with coolness and ease, and mine received a tenfold 
impulse from Lulie's light way of treating the matter. 

" Really," continued father, " you are quite a belle ; but 
I am surprised that John should have withdrawn so easily 
from the contest. I thought you had more perseverance, 
my son. Surely, you did not encourage him, Lulie ?" 

" Yes, indeed I did, but he was not to be caught, and I 
have given him up as a hopeless case." 

I vainly endeavored to swallow my confusion with large 
gulps of tea; the tea somehow slipped by and left the con- 
fusion sticking in my throat, but I managed to jerk out the 
words : 

" If you ever gave any encouragement I did not know it." 

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed father. " Very good, my son, very 
good. But suppose she were to offer encouragement now, 
would you come back ? Try him once more, Lulie. I would 
enjoy the courtship very much." 



SEA-GIFT. 95 

"I am willing," she said, demurely; but I thought 1 
detected a smile towards father, as if they were in con- 
spiracy. 

" Now, John," continued father, " she says she is ready, 
and will return a favorable answer. How will you com- 
mence ? Don't blurt out ' I love you!' as that would be un- 
expected and sudden; come to it gradually, and the slower 
you are in getting to the point the surer will your answer 
be 'Yes.'" 

I could stand it no longer, but rose from the table and 
walked from the room, not, however, before hearing Lulie 
say: 

" I don't quite agree with you, Col. Smith. I can't bear 
a slow courting fellow. If he loves much it won't take him 
long to tell it. There! you have run John off. I like him 
ever so much, only he is very timid." 

I went out and sat on the stoop in no pleasant frame of 
mind. I was provoked with father for teasing me ; I was 
provoked with myself for being teased, and I was provoked 
with Lulie for not being teased. 

"She cannot love me or she would not treat the matter so 
lightly," I soliloquized, grinding white circles on the brown 
stone with my boot heel. " She thinks me timid, too ; I'll 
prove my boldness the first opportunity I get." 

Father and Lulie now came out and sat down, but no 
further allusion was made to the dining room topic. We 
spoke of our intended trip to the plantation near Goldsboro', 
and Lulie agreed, if her pa was willing, to go up and spend 
the remainder of the summer with us, as it would be very 
pleasant for her to be with Carlotta. After talking for some 
time of the pleasures of the country, Lulie rose to go, and 
I, of course, accompanied her. 

So far from proving my boldness I walked by her side in 
awkward silence till she spoke. 

" Why did you let your father tease you so to-night, 
Johnnie ?" 



96 s!ea-gift. 

" He didn't tease me," I returned, with Munchausen men- 
dacity. " I didn't care a straw for what he said, only I did 
not choose to be spoken of. so before a lady." 

" I'll wager Frank Paning would not have been discon- 
certed," she said. " He has more self-possession than any 
one I ever saw." 

" I don't care what in the thunder Frank Paning has ; I 
don't want to be like him," I said, savagely. 

" I did not intend to offend you, sir; I am obliged to you 
for your escort thus far, but, since you are so incensed, will 
need your services no farther," she said, very quietly, taking 
her hand from my arm. 

" I beg a thousand pardons, Lulie ; I was rude and hasty, 
but so many constant allusions to Paning irritate me beyond 
measure. He must be very dear to you from the repeated 
mention of his name." 

" Oh, no, that does not follow at all. I think, very well of 
him, as he is attentive and kind; but here we are at our 
gate; won't you come in ?" 

" Thanks ! not to-night. Let me ask pardon again, Lulie, 
for my very harsh words on the way." 

"Do not mention it; 'tis forgotten with me. Good night !" 

My feelings, as I walked homeward, were very much min- 
gled. There was always pleasure and pain in being with 
Lulie. Young as she was she already possessed consum- 
mate skill in swaying the feelings — now by some bewitch- 
ing word or look. raising your hopes, then dashing them to 
earth by some sarcasm, or worse, an allusion to some other 
favorite. She had reduced her game to a science, and 
always pitted special rivals against each other. Frank was 
sure to be my thorn. A single remark, evincing a preference 
for him, was enough to disturb my equanimity for an even- 
ing. So, in my thoughts this evening there was pain, yet a 
sweet pleasure, too, in the reflection that, in our retired 
country seat up in Wayne, I would have her all to myself; 



SEA-GIFT. 9? 

that I could see her every day, and talk as long and freely 
as I chose, with all the adjuncts and concomitants of love 
— woods, birds, brooks, bowers, meadows and moonshine. 

Just as I reached our gate I met Frank Paning himself, 
hurrying up street to his home. 

"Hello, John!" he said, lightly, as we stopped, "where 
have you been ? Over to the Doc's, I suppose. I am get- 
ting jealous. Lulie must be looked to." 

" There is no danger," I replied ; " you are certainly the 
idol there." 

" Oh, you tell me that to blind me, but I know a thing 
or two. By the way, how is our little foundling. I heard 
to-day that your folks had brought her here to raise up as a 
wife for you. I suppose you wish to train her up to suit 
you, so she will not have to learn your ways after mar- 
riage." 

"You heard a most infamous falsehood, then, and you 
can tell your informant I said so," I replied, the blood rush- 
ing to my face. 

" Well, don't get mad about it ; I was only joking. I 
want to call on her ; when will she receive company ?" 

" Not in a year or two," I said, emphatically. " She is 
going up the country next week, and will not return till the 
fall, when she will commence school, and be closely occupied 
with her studies." 

"I see it is plain you fear rivals. I will not trouble 
you." 

Before I could reply he was gone. 

5 



98 SEA-GIFT. 



CHAPTER XII. 

The morning is misty and damp, as father, mother, Car- 
lotta, Lulie and I stand under the great shed at the depot, 
waiting for the car doors to be unlocked. It is very early, 
and nobody seems stirring except those immediately con- 
nected with the train about to start. There are a dozen or 
more people standing in groups, waiting on the same event 
as ourselves. They all yawn a great deal, rub their eyes, 
wish they were back in bed, and wonder how long before 
the brakesman comes to open the car doors. The train itself 
lies on the track like a great headless serpent (for the 
engine has not yet been put on), whose red and yellow sides 
are full of latticed eyes. At last the brakesman, in a blue 
coat, striped shirt and glazed cap, comes along, whistling 
the last popular ballad, unlocks the door with a rattle, and 
shouts " Walk in, ladies and gentlemen." 

We crowd in and select our seats on the side from the 
sun, if it should come out. Father turns over the seat in 
front, that it may face the other one, lays his shawl in the 
corner, hangs up the basket containing our lunch, sits down, 
pulls off his glove with his teeth, thrusts his hand under his 
duster, draws out and looks at* his watch, shuts it with a 
snap, and says indistinctly, through the fingers of his glove : 

" It will be fifteen minutes before we start." 

People continue to arrive and crowd in, singly and in par- 
ties. The individuals consist of a very fat old gentleman, 
with a broad hat soiled around the band, a duster too short 
by six inches for his long black coat, and a large red ban- 
danna handkerchief, worn altogether in his hand ; a fancy 
dressed young gentleman, who looks in the door a moment 
and concludes to finish his cigar upon the platform, with one 
foot lifted to the railing, where he can tap the heel of his 
boot with a leg-headed cane ; a rather rough man with a 



SEA-GIFT. 99 

very large moustache, who passes through the coach very 
often and slams the door very hard, gets between two seats 
to lean half way out of the window to tell some one, who is 
named Bill, " Hello 1" and to ask " when will you be' up ?" 
lets down the window with a bang, and lolls across the seat 
with one foot hanging in the aisle ; a middle aged maiden 
lady, dressed, of course, in black bombazine, with a green 
veil, a large basket with a scolloped top, a canary of yellow 
and black dignity in a white and green cage, furnished with 
seed, sand, and inconvenient water cups; an old lady under 
the care of the conductor, walking very slow, with a horn 
handled stick, a large flowered bandbox and a white cloth 
bag ; she wears a dark fly bonnet, which she takes off when 
she sits down and displays a white cap, ruffled around her 
face, which is very much wrinkled, and has white, thin hairs 
about the chin ; she shows a disposition to breathe hard, 
and to look around vacantly from the side seat at the end 
of the cars, where the conductor has placed her, and to talk 
to no one in particular with a voice like a cat-bird's with a 
bad cold. 

The parties who enter are generally composed of tall, 
resigned looking 1 gentlemen, burdened with innumerable 
boxes and bundles, patient and pale wives, in gray travelling 
dresses and lead colored veils, which they hold in one corner 
of their mouths, to show only one fourth of the face : sleepy 
looking, large boys, with badly fitting clothes, who stumble 
along the aisle behind their parents, as if they were still 
dreaming ; smaller boys and girls following, holding each 
other by the hand, each in the fallacious belief that they 
are taking care of the other; and mulatto nurses, carrying 
m their arms very white headed babies, naturally lachry- 
mose and nasally aqueous. 

Having seen all these and many more come in, I raise the 
window. Everything is dripping with fog, and the moisture 
is trickling in little crooked streams down the sides of the 



100 SEA-GIFT. 

coaches. The express wagon comes rattling down, and I 
can hear them unloading, with an occasional ejaculation 
bordering on the profane. Then I hear the bell of the 
engine as it comes out of the yard, and stews and hisses, 
backing down the track, nearer and nearer till it touches — 
then, with a loud clack-up of the coaches, everybody is jerked 
forward, the train glides back a foot or two, and it is coupled 
on. All is comparatively still now, and there is nothing to 
remind us of the immense power to which we are attached, 
except the odor of the smoke, which is rolling in black masses 
along the roof of the shed, and the faint singing of the steam. 

I take my head in and find everybody either dozing or 
staring stupidly out of the window. Father is reclining in 
his seat, mother is resting her cheek upon her hand, with 
closed eyes, and Carlotta and Lulie, finding it too damp to 
raise the window, have looked through the glass till their 
breath has dimmed it, and wiping it with their hands, have 
left the print of their fingers in circles on the pane. 

William now brings father the checks for the baggage, the 
whistle sounds, the bell rings, a few loud coughs from the 
great monster that draws us, and we glide from under the 
roof, creep under the bridge, jog along the suburbs, rattle 
into full speed, and roar out of sight of the town; the last 
sign of which is a little negro, standing in the door of a hut 
on the embankment above, waving his rag of a hat, as if to 
wish us good speed. Trees fly by, fences like long serpents 
wriggle past, and the whole country becomes a passing 
panorama 1 

The sun rises, and, dispelling the fog, shines out bright 
and sultry. People, aroused by the stir, begin to talk. 
Children become thirsty. The lady opposite, with two little 
girls and a baby, tells the nurse to hand her the basket, and 
opening it to get out the silver mug, sends the nurse after 
water. The nurse totters down the coach, rocks backward 
and forward while drawing the water, and totters ^back, 



SEA-GIFT. 101 

steadying herself by the arms of the seats, and spilling a 
little water at every step. The little camels gulp it down 
as if the cars were Sahara ! 

The conductor staggers in and calls for tickets. Old gen- 
tlemen untie many-stringed pocket-books, old ladies open 
their reticules, and young gentlemen point to their hat 
bands. He passes out, and the whistle sounds. The brakes- 
man rushes to the wheel and gives a turn, then holds his 
cap on with one hand, and swings off by the railing to look 
ahead. Another whistle, another turn, and we grind into a 
small station, where we stop for a minute or two; then on 
and on we fly, faster for the short delay. The morning 
wears away, and we get out our luncheon. Broiled chicken 
and cold tongue ! how they are associated with travelling ! 
Their very odor is suggestive of the rattle of the train 1 
We had scarce finished eating when the whistle sounded for 
Goldsboro'. We got off and found Aleck, one of the farm 
hands, waiting for us with the spring wagon, as Horace, he 
said, had not yet got up with the carriage. We all clam- 
bered up, and were soon rolling over a level, though dusty, 
road to our country place. 

As the rattling wagon was not a very pleasant place for 
conversation, I had leisure to observe Carlotta, and to mark 
the effects of diversion on her beautiful face. Many traces 
of sadness were gone, and there was even brightness in her 
eyes. Such eyes I have never seen. There was a velvet 
expression about them, for to the soft rich effect of that 
fabric alone can I compare those orbs and their setting; and 
I thought, as I gazed at them, that the soul must be a rare 
one indeed that possessed such windows. She seemed try- 
ing to shake off reflections on her own misfortunes, and for 
others' sake, if not her own, to be cheerful. She sat next to 
mother, to whom she was already fondly attached, and whose 
tender heart fully reciprocated her love. Lulie was all gaiety, 
an (Mather was undignified enough to be droll; some of his 



102 • SEA-GIFT. 

remarks even drawing a smile from Carlotta, though only 
such a smile a soul in serge can wear ; a smile that seems 
begun in forgetfulness, and finished with repentance for its 
levity. 

The afternoon was far advanced when w& drove up the 
long avenue of trees that led to the house. 

The place had been built by my great grandfather, and 
the house and all the premises were on the old style. 

The great-house, as it was termed by the negroes, was a 
large two-story one, with narrow green blinds, a large wing 
extending back, and piazzas running almost all the way round. 
The chimneys were very broad, and were built half up with 
rock, then finished off with brick. The front porch had an 
arched roof over it, and was furnished with two stiff benches 
on each side. There was a magnificent grove in front, in 
one corner of which was a large pond or lake, on which a 
flock of geese were swimming. To the left of the house 
stood a large capacious kitchen, painted red, and behind and 
around the house were ranged the dairy, smoke house, &c, 
all of the same ruddy hue. Back of the yard were the long 
rows of negro cabins, with the*r martin poles, and little gar- 
dens in front of them, and a few hundred yards off, in a small 
growth of trees, stood the house for the overseer, Mr.Bemby. 
As we drove up to the yard gate a large bull-dog, chained 
in his kennel, commenced barking furiously, and this brought 
yelping around the house half a dozen curs and hounds 
belonging to the negroes. These were followed in turn by 
a troop of little negroes, who ran to the gate, shouting in 
great glee : 

" Yon's marster and mistis." 

Then ensued a scuffle for the honor of opening the gate, 
and a shrill chorus of " How dye's" as we entered the yard. 
Mrs. Bemby came down the steps to meet us, and took us 
into the cool, large front room, where she aided mother and 
the girls to take off their bonnets and hats, then conducted 



SEA-GIFT. 103 

them to their chambers. She soon returned to father and 
myself, with waiter and goblets of ice water. 

" Col. Smith," she said, as she placed the water on the 
table, " Mrs. Smith said you've got her keys ; and, Mister 
John, your room is ready whenever you wish to go up." 

" Thank you, Mrs. Bemby," I replied, as father arose and 
went to mother's chamber, "I will wait here awhile, as it is 
the coolest place I have seen to-day." " I must go see about 
supper," she said, taking up the key basket and holding it 
against herself while she searched for a key ; " don't, the 
niggers will get every thing wrong. I 'spected to move over 
to-day to our house, but Mr. Bemby, he was so busy a plow- 
ing, I couldn't get all the things away ; so, if you find any 
of Ben's things in your room, let 'em stay till in the morn- 
ing. It ingenerly takes me a fortnit to get straight when 
I come from home to the great'us, or from the great'us to 
home." 

I surveyed her and the room while she was speaking, and 
found her impress on every article. The room was always 
used as a sitting room, and had so many doors and windows 
that it was a perfect breeze generator. The chairs were 
ranged two and two under every window, as if to let the 
wind cool them. Father's lounge was drawn in the middle 
of the room, with its bright chintz covering tucked in so 
tightly that it seemed to say to me, " Come and lie down, I 
will not let you sink in and be hot, but will bear you up, 
that you may get the breeze." The floor was so clean and 
shining that I longed to get down and sleep with my face on 
the cool boards. Even the old fashioned piano, with its 
yellow keys and- little straight legs, had such a tight, scant 
cover, that it seemed to have taken off its trowsers for the 
summer. The broad fireplace was clayed as white as snow, 
and stuffed full of feathery fennel, and on the high, quaintly 
carved mantel, were plaster images, sheep with very red eyes, 
a studious boy with a slate, and his nose knocked off, and 



104 SEA-GIFT. 

very erect Napoleon Bonaparte, with very large legs, one of 
which had grown to a stump, in a way that would have held 
him faster than St. Helena. Between these mementoes of 
itinerant Italians were ranged double rows of red and green 
apples, with Hardee precision. There were several old 
portraits in the room, and these had the gauze looped up 
around them, as if to give them air. A tall old clock, with a 
dignified face, and a lazy second-hand, that waited every 
time for the clock to tick before it would jump, stood in its 
corner — the long pendulum passing to and fro by the little 
glass door near the bottom, as if it didn't care if I did see it, 
and would as lief stop as not. And then its drowsy tick ! 
Argus would have closed all his eyes if he could have heard 
it for five minutes ! A large yellow and white eat, with both 
ears cropped, lay asleep in Mrs. Bemby's work basket, which 
sat near the door, and a frisky gray kitten on the hearth 
was catching at the flies in the fennel. And I thought, as I 
looked around, if Mrs. Bemby could impart such a cool, clean 
look to every thing by her short residence in the house, 
what must her little home be up on the hill, under those 
great shady poplars. 

Mrs. B. having found her key, came to her work basket, 
shook the cat out of it (the cat coming down slowly on her 
fore feet, and bringing her hind feet down a second or two 
afterwards, as if half inclined to let them stay up in the air), 
and gathering up her work, left the room. I rose and went 
up stairs, where I found everything equally antique, and as 
clean and cool. I ordered up my trunk, and having made 
my toilet I went down, feeling very much refreshed. The 
girls soon appeared, and we spent the remainder of the 
afternoon exploring the old house. In the old parlor, in the 
library — with long high shelves of books — up in the old dusty 
garrets, down in the basement, everywhere that there was 
anything to .show, I carried Carlotta and Lulie, listening to 
Lulie's bright laugh and admiring Carlotta's brightening 



SEA-GIFT. 105 

beauty. From the house we walked out into the grove, 
down to the orchard, and, with our hats full of apples and 
peaches, at last took our seats on the green mossy rocks at 
the spring. As Lulie and Carlotta took their seats together, 
and seemed so absorbed in each other, I found that the first 
little cloud in this country trip was beginning to gather ; 
that cloud was — and I blushed for shame at the thought — 
Carlotta's presence. I knew that she and Lulie would 
be inseparable, when I wanted Lulie all to myself. I felt 
that I must give up all hopes of private chats ; that I 
would have no opportunity to tell my love ; that all my 
courtship must be carried on by looks, and that, I knew, 
would be unsatisfactory, as Lulie never returned my tender 
glances ; yet I could not help admiring Carlotta, and loving 
to be with her. She was so exquisitely beautiful that I 
could sit and watch her for hours and never weary ; but 
she was too sad and serious yet to be congenial, and I felt 
that she was a bar to my intercourse with Lulie, and could 
scarcely refrain from wishing we had never found her. All 
the better part of my nature would rise up indignantly at 
the unkindness of such thoughts, but still I would have 
them. Youth, in love, is excusable for many follies. 

While the girls were talking in a low tone together I was 
leaning on my elbow, flipping the parings of the peaches 
into the water, and indulging a somewhat bitter train of 
reflection over my disappointment, when the tea bell rang. 
We hastened to the house, and met father at the door, who 
said : 

"Come in to tea. Mrs. Bemby has not had time to pre- 
pare supper at her house, so I have invited her and Mr. 
Bemby, and Ben, their son, to eat with us to-night. Ben is 
rather a queer case, but you mustn't laugh when you meet 
him, as it would hurt Mrs. Bemby's feelings very much." 

We went down stairs to the dining room, where we were 
introduced to Mr. B. and son. Mr. Bemby was a large dark 

5* 



106 SEA-GIFT. 

man, with a kind, pleasant face, but rough and sun-burnt in 
his appearance. He seemed very much at his ease, as he 
knew father and mother so well, and greeted us cordially, 
remarking to me, as he shook my hand : 

" You've growed a'most outen my knowledge, Mr. Smith, 
but I hain't seen you sence you was a mighty little chap." 

As soon as I looked at Ben I knew I had found a rare 
case, and I felt that he would contribute no small amount 
to my enjoyment. He was very tall and stout, being nearly 
six feet high, though he was apparently not done growing. 
He had a clear gray eye, full of intelligence, but that always 
looked as if it was laughing to itself; his nose was promi- 
nent between his eyes, but flattened at the end by an un- 
skilful operation for hair-lip, when he was a child ; his upper 
lip, from the same cause, had a deep scar in it, and was 
tucked in his under lip, as if he was sucking something from 
a spoon. When he laughed he showed only his under teeth, 
which were well set, but stained yellow from the use of 
tobacco ; his laugh itself was a very singular one for a 
young person, though I have sometimes heard very old and 
sedate people laugh so. When he was amused his face 
assumed a broad grin two or three seconds before a sound 
was heard, and then from deep within came a series of short 
or long grunts, according to the intensity of his feelings ; 
if he was very much amused the grunts were lengthened 
almost to groans — one beginning as the other left off; if he 
was only laughing slightly they were short enough to be a 
kind of chuckle. The best illustration of his laugh I can 
find is a thunder cloud — first the lightning on his face, after 
awhile the thunder rumbling up from within. Very often 
his face, in ordinary converse, would, like sheet lightning, 
flash out a laugh, while no sound at all would be heard. 

Mother was suffering with headache from the day's fatigue 
and sent in her excuse, and the request that Mrs. Bemby 
would take the head of the table, and make the tea and coffee. 



SEA-GIFT. 107 

Mrs. B -accordingly took her seat, and while she is arrang- 
ing the cups, let me introduce her more thoroughly by a brief 
description. A very stout old lady, with thin gray hairs, 
tucked into a small knot by a large horn comb, small blue 
eyes, with the under lid much nearer the pupil than the 
upper, giving her always a very pleasant but surprised look ; 
a fat face, with scarcely a wrinkle, a loose under lip, and a 
tongue that threatened with every word to come out, so that 
all her words seemed to have been fattening before she spoke 
them. Her form was very large, so that she looked like a 
tierce of good nature. Her whole appearance was of that 
kind, that if you had seen her at the door of a house, as you 
were travelling, you would have stopped for refreshment, 
knowing that everything would be clean, and in that agreea- 
ble profusion that one always enjoys after a journey. 

Mrs. Bemby was free and unembarrassed in her manner ; 
Mr. Bemby unconcerned ; but Ben evidently felt awkward, 
and was depending upon observation of the conduct of 
others for his table deportment. 

"Colonel Smith," said Mrs. B- to father, after grace 

had been said, " will you take some tea or coffee?" 

"I'll take a cup of each," said he. "I am a little peculiar 
about that, and generally ice my tea while I drink my 
coffee." 

" If I had a' known that I could a' had some friz for you, 
sir." 

"No matter, Mrs. Bemby. I can soon cool it here." 

" Miss Lulie, which will you have ?" 

" I will thank you for a glass of milk." 

"Well, Miss Carlotta ?" 

" A cup of tea, if you please." 

"Mr. John, tea or coffee ?" 

" Coffee, I believe, madam." 

" Old man, you'll have coffee, I know," she said, putting 
the sugar in Mr. B 's cup. 



108 SEA-GIFT. 

Poor Ben had been watching carefully, but could not pos- 
sibly decide what was aufait under the circumstances, so 
that when his turn came he resolved, as the safest course, 
to follow father's example, and, in response to his mother's 
inquiry, replied that he would take some of both, and 
"sorter cool the tea while he was getting down the coffee." 

Mrs. Bemby's eyes certainly looked natural in their sur- 
prise at his answer. Lulie, whose face had been red with 
restrained laughter since she had seen him, now broke into 
an irresistible titter, to which Ben replied by a grin, with- 
out a sound. 

"Ben," said his mother, still looking at him through her 
specs, "you must be a fool; give him some buttermilk, 
Harriet." 

There was silence for some time, and then father said : 

"Ben, do you ever catch any fish, now?" 

" Yes, sir ; I ketched a cat 'tother day, big as a bucket." 

" Caught a cat, eh," said father, setting aside his coffee, 
and drawing the tea to him. " You must have baited with 
a mouse." 

"Nor, sir, I baited with a worrum. Cats bites at wor- 
rums fine." 

„Lulie could restrain her curiosity no longer, but asked, 
with all earnestness, if it was a real cat, with tail, claws 
and all. 

Ben gave a great many long grunts as he said, " Sho', its 
got a tail, but tain't got no claws, 'cause its a fish." 

" Oh I" said Lulie, with her hand to her mouth, and a 
glance at me. 

I ventured to ask if there were many squirrels on the 
plantation. 

Ben bit a large semicircle out of a biscuit, and said' 
through the crumbs: 

" The trees is just a breakin' with 'em. I went to a mul- 
berry this mornin', and th' was sixty odd on one limb 1" 



SEA-GIFT. 109 

" Why, Ben," said father, looking up, " that couldn't have 
been so." 

" Well, they mightn't a' been ; but three hundred and 
over ran outen the tree when I shot." 

Ben is not the only one I have met whose stories grew 
bigger as they repeated them. 

Mrs. Beraby now interrupted him. 

"Ben, you talked mighty nigh enough. Let somebody 
else have a mouth." 

Ben, thus rebuked, was silent, and father and Mr. B 

talked about the farm, while Garlotta and Lulie occasionally 
whispered, and I ate in silence. 

After the meal the Bembys left for their house, Ben hav- 
ing promised to take me hunting and fishing in all the best 
places ; and we went out to the front porch to talk over our 
plans for pleasure. Father went to the library to read, 
mother was resting in her room, nobody in the porch but 
Carlotta, Lulie and I ; and again I felt that Carlotta was in 
the way. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



The sky was just reddening when I came down next 
morning and commenced to get my gun and accoutrements, 
to try my hand at hunting. Father called me as I was" 
about to leave the house, and told me to come to the back 
door. There I found a negro boy, thirteen or fourteen years 
of age, in his shirt sleeves, a clean white shirt, and copperas 
checked pants, held up by suspenders of the same cloth, 
fastened on them by little sticks ; one hand resting up 
against the house, and one bare foot scratching the top of 
the other. 

" John," said father, as I came out in the porch, gun in 



110 SEA-GIFT. 

hand, " this is Reuben, one of Hannah's children. You may 
take him for your valet. He knows all the best hunting and 
fishing places around here. When you go to Goldsboro' 
you can get him some more suitable livery." 

" Thank you, sir ; he will suit me exactly. How do you 
like it, Reuben?" 

Reuben could only snicker and rub his hand on the 
weather boarding, as an acknowledgment of his favor. 

"I am about to start hunting now ; can you carry me to 
a place where I can kill some squirrels ?" 

" Yes, sir; ef I c'n git Unker Jack's Trip, and go over 'gin 
the big spring field, you kin find a sight on 'em." 

" Well, run and get Trip, and come on." 

He ran down to the quarters, and soon came back with a 
little blue-spotted, curl-tailed dog, which he declared could 
"find 'em eben ef dey wan't dere 1" 

After getting over fences, jumping ditches, tramping 
through dewy grass, and breaking through wet corn till my 
feet were drenched and my clothes saturated, we at last 
struck the woods. What splendid woods they were for 
hunting. Dignified, patriarchal oaks, matronly cedars, 
young dandy hickories, love-sick maiden-pines, that sighed 
in the breeze, and families of saplings 1 Reuben here 
thought we would find the game, and told Trip to " look 
about." The little canine obeyed, and was soon out of sight. 

We moved cautiously about, listening ; nor did we have 
to wait very long before Reuben recognized his short, quick 
bark, and, with the ejaculation, " dat's him," ran rapidly 
towards the place. I followed as fast as the nature of the 
undergrowth would permit, and we soon found Trip sitting 
on his tail, under a large oak, whose thick leaves concealed 
all but the lowest branches. I looked long and vainly to- 
wards the top ; nothing could I see but the deep green 
leaves. Reuben, however, got off some distance from the 
tree, and, walking backwards, and looking with hand-shaded 



SEA-GIFT. Ill 

eyes, soon cried out, " Yon he is ; cum year, marse John ; 
you c'n see 'im." I ran eagerly to him, and gazed intently 
to where he pointed, and by his continued indications of the 
exact limb and fork, I was at last persuaded that I did see 
a small gray knot near the body of the tree. I levelled my 
gun and fired ; all was still for awhile, and then the shot 
came pattering back on the trees a little way off. Another 
shot, and the gray knot ran out to the end of the limb. 

" Dat's him ; I know'd it was," shouted Reuben, while I 
was so much excited I could hardly load. Before I could 
get the shot down the squirrel sprang from the tree to 
another, the slender twigs bending under him, and the wet 
leaves showering down the dew. But Reuben and Trip 
were watching, and soon found him in a fairer place. I now 
aim more carefully, and fire ; he falls several feet, then 
catches and recovers himself ; another barrel, and he turns 
under limb, holding on by his feet. Before I can load again 
he slowly releases, foot by foot, his hold upon the limb, and 
comes tumbling headlong down, striking the ground with a 
heavy sound. Reuben and Trip are in great glee over it, 
while I look on with assumed indifference, for it is my first 
squirrel, though I had played great destruction among the 
rice birds near town. 

I was just putting the caps on my gun when I was start- 
led by the report of another gun close at hand. I soon 
heard the thumping of the ramrod, and a little while after 
the bushes parted, and the long figure of Ben Bemby emerg- 
ed, his gray eyes gleaming under a broad wool hat without 
any band, and his scarred lip drawn into a smile. A large 
bunch of squirrels hung in his hand, and a long single-barrel 
gun rested on his shoulder. 

"Mornin'. What luck ?" he said, resting his gun on the 
ground, and throwing back his hat to wipe the perspiration 
from his forehead with his forefinger. 

"One fine fellow," I said, holding my trophy up. 



112 SEA-GIFT. 

Ben chuckled a little, and said : 

" Four shots to one; that's sorter bad. I got seven outer 
nine. That ere little pop-stick of yourn won't reach these 
trees." 

I did not fancy any slur on the shooting qualities of my 
gun, which was a very handsome Wesley Richards, a pre- 
sent from father the winter before, and I offered to prove 
that it would shoot as far as his. 

" Jumerlacky ! Why, I can fetch a squrl when he is 
outer sight with this old gun." 

" How do you aim at him?" I inquired, smiling at his ear- 
nestness. 

" I just git me a hicker nut hall, with the print where a 
squrl's been a cuttin', and rub it in the shot, and when I 
fire, don't keer which way I takes sight, the shot goes right 
arter the squrl what cut the nut, and all I got to do is to 
look roun' and see what tree he's a gwine to fall from." 

I expressed a great desire to see his gun perform, and 
asked if he had killed any that morning without seeing 
them. 

" Not 'zactly," he replied, changing his squirrels from one 
hand to the other; " but one run up such a high tree he got 
t'other side of a cloud." 

"How did you get at him?" 

"Jus' shot wher he went thew; when he drapped he was 
right smarten wet, an' it rained purtty peart thew the shot 
holes in the cloud." 

"Which one of those was it?" I asked, pointing to the 
bunch in his hand. 

"This here biggest un," he said, holding him up by the 
tail. 

" Why, he does'nt seem to be wet now?" 

" Nor ; he dried, like, comin' thew the air." 

I was uncertain whether he was a little nighty or was 
trying to quiz me, thinking I was city-green, and a look into 



SEA-GIFT. 113 

his laughing grey eye rather confirming this last supposition, 
I was about to change the conversation, when Trip's bark 
a little way off in the woods called our attention to him. We 
found the squirrel in the very top of a tree that did almost 
seem in the clouds. 

" Lemme see you knock him out wi' your little double-bar'l 
toot-a-poo." 

With the steadiest aim I could command, I gave him both 
barrels, one after the other, with no result whatever, my 
piece being a short bird gun, and the tree top an immense 
distance from the ground. 

Ben said, " Now, let the old gal speak," and sighting the 
old brown barrel a second, he fired. The squirrel made a 
frantic leap into the air, and fell right into Trip's mouth. 
Reuben was in a dance of excitement, but felt that he must 
take my gun's part. 

" Marse John's gun's new ; 'taint got used to shootin' 

yet" 

"What d' you know 'bout guns, you little devil's ink 
ball?" said Ben, turning to Reuben ; "why d'nt you open 
your mouth when Satan was a paintin' you, and git some 
black on your teeth. Well, Mr. Smith, less knock along 
todes homo ; its mos' your breakfus time." 

" Won't you go and take breakfast with me ?" 

"Nor, siree. Th' old man said I was fool 'nough last 
night to last a seas'n; but I'll come in short to see them 
ladies agin, for sho' they're fine 'uns." 

" You must be sure to come. You think they are pretty, 
do you ?" 

" Well, I do exactly that thing. I've got a gal nigh here 
I thought was some on purtty, but she ain't a pint cup to 
these here." 

" Which do you think is the best looking ?" 

u That's 'bout as hard to tell as buyin' knives. That ere 
curly head un is five mules and a bunch er bells, and ef 



114 SEA-GIFT. 

'twant for t'other would beat the world; but that black- 
eyed un, wh'sh! She c'n jus' look at you, aud make you set 
still forever. Why, you c'n run er fishin' pole in her eyes 
up to the hand'l and never tech bott'm." 

"Polyphemus would be a mole to her, if her eyes were as 
deep as that," I replied, laughing at his extravagance. 

" I never heerd of Polly Whatchoucallem, but ef she looked 
like this ere wun, I'd trade Viney Dodge for her, and giv 'em 
boot." 

" I expect Miss Viney will soon have cause for jealousy ?" 

" Nor, siree. Miss Kerlotter, I think the old lady sed her 
name was, is a darned sight too fine for me. You can't sew 
silk truck on to homespun ; and Viney suits my cloth the 
bes', for she's three treddle sargc, and a thread to spare." 

There was a fork here in the path, and we separated. I 
reached home just as the family were sitting down to break- 
fast. I exhibited my game, and was complimented for my 
skill. 

After breakfast I went to the library, while the girls busied 
themselves aiding mother in her domestic arrangements. 
Before leaving the table they made me promise to take them 
fishing in the evening, or rather Lulie did, for Carlotta ex- 
pressed her preference for remaining at home with mother, 
and I saw in her face that her intuitive tact had taught her 
that I preferred to be alone with Lulie. She was tenderly 
devoted to mother, and would often leave gay, frolicsome 
Lujie to sit by her, and talk on " grown up" subjects, as 
Lulie would call them. With father she was reserved, 
though respectful and grateful, and studied to please him in 
every way. Toward me she was gentle and kind, but shy, 
as if she was afraid of being teased about me. 

I cannot describe my feelings for her. There was a thrill 
every time I met those great black eyes that I had never 
felt before, but I could not call it love, for Lulie engrossed 
all there was of that in my nature. 



SEA-GIFT. 115 

There was a magnetism about her that affected me strong- 
ly, and made me feel that, were we at all intimate, she would 
possess an unbounded influence over me, and that its exer- 
cise would constitute my supreme happiness. 

The tender pity and brotherly love I had expected to feel 
were all gone, for she did not need them; the vast resources 
of her own deep soul, and the sympathy and love of mother, 
seemed to be enough for her. In all my thoughts I could 
only long for her friendship, and I felt that if I could awaken 
in her an interest in me as a friend, so that I could go to her 
ear and tell my troubles or joys, I would be the happier. In 
the common converse of our family circle I always-looked to 
her first after my remarks, and her smile was a far greater 
reward to me than Lulie's, perhaps because it meant more. 
And if I had done wrong I would rather ten times Lulie 
should know it than Carlotta ; yet, with all these feelings, 
resembling so much indices of love, there was no spark of it 
in my heart. Her very beauty seemed to fix a great gulf 
between us, and down in my soul I felt that she would 
never love me, except as a member of the same family. 
With these thoughts came the image of Lulie — bright, 
laughing Lulie — whose heart I could get so near to, if I 
could not call it mine; who was something human, like my- 
self, and whom I loved so tenderly without the slightest 
shade of awe. And I longed for the time when I could tell 
her of it. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



The afternoon-was still and sultry, as I gazed out of my 
window, leaning on the sill, and waiting for Eeuben to 
bring my fishing poles and bait. 

From the corn fields in the distance a trembling haze was 
continually rising, and I could hear the occasional song of 



116 SEA-GIFT. 

the negroes, as they moved behind their plows slowly up 
and down the long green rows. In the yard all was still ; 
the chickens, with palpitating throats, were lying under the 
bushes, flirting the cool dark earth up into their feathers ; 
and the ducks were gathered around the cool trough at the 
well, bubbling the water with their bills, and shaking their 
wings as if they wished to dive in it, if the trough were 
just wide enough ; the bull-dog, at the door of his kennel, 
was lying on his side, with his head stretched out on the 
earth, from which he would raise it constantly to snap at 
the flies biting his flanks. A solitary peacock, with his tail 
all pulled out for the feathers, was sitting on the fence, with 
his blue neck and coroneted head reverted, as if gazing at the 
absence of his plumage. Down at the quarters 1 could catch 
the changing hum of the spinning wheel, making .echo to 
the nasal minor strains of a negro woman at the wash tub. 
Everything was calculated to inspire reverie, and I leaned 
there, thinking of the cool shady bank of the creek, and of 
Lulie and myself sitting there alone ; and musing on the 
pleasure of the evening, and wondering if anything would 
occur to mar it, I drew my eyes from the scenes in the yard, 
and gazed down the side of the house, noticing every little 
dent in the planking and the dark rain marks under the 
nails ; and dropping bits of paper at a lazy red wasp that 
was crawling slowly up the weather-boarding. Eeuben, 
passing under my window with the poles and a gourd full 
of worms, broke my reverie, and taking my hat and gloves 
I went down stairs, where Lulie was already awaiting me, 
looking sweeter than ever in a pink gingham sun-bonnet. 
Holding an umbrella carefully over her, Reuben leading the 
way with the poles, I went down the avenue through a 
long lane, down a wooded hill, and stopped at "de bes' fishin' 
hole on de creek," as Reuben called it. 'Twas a steep grassy 
bank under a large sycamore, at a sudden curve in the 
stream, where the water, running down heedlessly, struck 



SEA-GIFT. 117 

the bank, and hurried off with many a curling dimple of 
confusion for its carelessness. After Eeuben had undone 
and baited our lines, I dismissed him, and we both took our 
seats, pole in hand. 

The thick branches overhead made an impervious shade, 
except where they opened here and there to let a little ray 
of sunlight dance upon the water. The lines, serpent-like, 
curled down from the poles, and the painted float circled up 
and down the eddy, but with no other motion but what the 
water gave. Presently Lulie's stood still, then bobbed under 
and up, while the water rings retreated from it as if afraid ; 
again it goes down, and Lulie — like all lady fishers — gave the 
pole such a jerk that the line and its hooked victim were 
lodged in the branches above. All my efforts to disengage 
it were unavailing till, at last, I broke off the line, and threw 
pieces of stick at the little fish till I battered it down, its 
mouth torn out by the hook, and its shining scales all beaten 
off. Lulie took her little victim in her hand very tenderly, 
and almost shed tears over it. She declared she would 
never come fishing again ; that it was mean and cruel to 
catch the poor little creatures out of the water when they 
were so happy. 

" And, John," she continued, "I am so sorry I broke your 
hook and line, when you had fixed it up so nicely for me ; 
I know you are really mad with me about it." 

I did not notice her remark about the hook and line, but 
said (winding the broken line around the pole, and laying it 
behind us on the grass): 

" Your compassion and pity for the little fish are so sweet, 
Lulie, that I wish I could be transformed into one, like 
another Indur." 

The old roguish twinkle came back to her eyes as she 
said : 

"You Can have my compassion now if you will be caught 
like this fish." 



118 SEA-GIFT. 

" You know how quickly I would be, Lulie, but all your 
lines are occupied." 

" No, indeed, John, you are the one in fault ; but, then, 
you are completely fastened by a hook baited with a pair of 
dark Cuban eyes." 

" Of course, Lulie, you refer to Carlotta ; you are entirely 
mistaken ; she is only a sister, and a very reserved and dis- 
tant sister at that. I admire her beauty, but cannot love 
her." 

" Well, you look at her as if you did, any way, and I feel 
every time that we three are together, that you are wishing 
I had not come up here to spoil your pleasure, and be in 
the way." 

" Lulie !" I said softly, as I sat down by her on the cool 
green moss, and as I said it a hot flush came over my face, 
for I feit there was no retreat after such a tone, and that I 
must now tell her what I had been hinting at by action and 
word through my life from a child. She, too, well knew 
what I meant, for she dropped her eyes from mine, and lay- 
ing down the little fish, commenced to pick from her finger, 
with great earnestness and effort, a bright scale that adhered 
to it. 

" Let me get it off," I said, taking her hand and flipping 
off the scale, but still keeping the hand in mine ; "Lulie, I am 
holding the hand of the only girl in the world that I love. 
It is no jest now, but solemn earnest truth. Darling, your 
own heart tells you how I have idolized you from a child, 
and my heart tells me how I adore you now. Sometimes I 
have felt that you did not care for me, and my despair has 
been worse than eternal death ; at other times I've thought, 
perhaps, you did return my love, and the happiness would 
have been supreme but for the dread uncertainty. But oh ! 
Lulie, I can endure it no longer ; tell me, dearest, if you " 

She drew her hand suddenly from mine, and placing both 
hands over her eyes, she burst into convulsive sobbing. I 



SEA-GIFT. 119 

put my arm around her, and tried to take her hands from 
her eyes. She turned towards me, putting both arms around 
my neck, laid her face, streaming with tears, on my shoul- 
der, and cried as if her little heart would break. I sat still, 
supporting her, and not knowing what to do or say. Gra- 
dually her hands relaxed their clasp, and she raised her 
head from my shoulder, and, wiping her eyes with her hand- 
kerchief, which she tremblingly drew forth, said, with a 
tear-hoarse voice and a great sob : 

"Oh!— John!" 

"Lulie, darling," I said, gazing at her tenderly, "have I 
distressed you so much, and is it painful to you to know 
that I love you?" 

" Yes, yes, dear John, the deepest pain, because — because 
I cannot love you in return." 

" Not love me 1 Oh, Lulie ! After all the years of fondest 
fidelity I" 

"John, I do love you as the dearest friend I have on 
earth ; as the one of all others in whom I can confide most 
implicitly ; and because I love and esteem you so dearly 
your avowal of love causes me such intense pain. I could 
tell another I did not love him without remorse, but I know 
your noble heart is so truly in earnest, and its love is so 
sincere, that it almost kills me to turn it away and to offer 
only in return that bitterest of all words — friendship. But, 
John, by all the magnanimity of your generous nature, I 
beseech you not to hate me now, but hold me still as the 
same little Lulie of the nursery, when our hearts knew love 
as only childhood's friendship." 

I sat as if in a dream, and only murmured : 

" Hate you, Lulie ! Never ! never 1" 

After a long pause, I at length said : 

" Lulie, darling — for you will permit me to call you so this 
evening, at least — the scales have fallen from my eyes, and 
I see so plainly what a blind, blind fool I have been to grope 



120 SEA-GIFT. 

on in vague belief that you loved me. The fault has not 
been yours, for your actions have told me a thousand times 
that my hopes were vain; but well, indeed, is Cupid always 
pictured blind. And, darling, before we dismiss this subject 
forever, I want to thank you for the grief, and I know 'twas 
real, that you felt in rejecting my proffered love. Had you 
heartlessly cast it aside 'twould have crushed me too deeply 
for fortitude. And for our friendship, I vow before high 
Heaven it shall be deepened ; and truer than a brother, 
with the devotion of an unrequited yet undying love, will I 
prove myself your friend." 

"Thank you. Oh! a thousand times thank you, John." 

" But, dearest Lulie," I continued, " while my heart is 
bleeding, let me tear it all it may be torn. Tell me, do you 
love Frank Paning? Does he hold what I would give my 
life to win ? Do not fear to hurt me now." 

" John, dear John, do not ask me;" and her frame com- 
menced trembling violently again." 

" 'Tis as I expected," I said, bitterly. " But, oh ! this is 
the keenest pain of all. Frank Paning! To know that he 
may hold your hand, and feel it throb its love to his; that 
he may gaze into your eyes and read your love for him; that 
he may know that Lulie, my darling, my idol, is his alone ; 

while I Oh, Lulie, Pd rather you'd love the veriest dog 

that laps the dust around your door than Frank Paning." 

"Hush! hush! for the love of mercy hush!" she said, put- 
ting up her hand. 

" Lulie, I cannot, will not hush. We will never talk to- 
gether again as we do now; and, as that dearest friend you 
have termed me, I wish to warn you. He is not worthy of 
your love." 

She laid down the bonnet string, which she had been 
crimping in her fingers while I was talking, and looking 
straight at me, the least perceptible frown on her brow, and 
a flush on her cheek, said : 



SEA-GIFT. 121 

" John, I know you too well to believe you capable of 
meanly trying to injure a rival simply because of his success. 
I do you the justice to believe you sincere in your opinions, 
but your judgment is warped by prejudice ; you cannot 
know him as I do, or you would love and trust him." 

" My dear Lulie, it is because I know him far better than 
you do that I warn you against him. I expect you to be- 
lieve that all I say in regard to him is the fruit of my disap- 
pointment, but I must, ere we close this subject forever, tell 
you why he is unworthy, and why I warn you against him. 
And I trust, as you believe in my honor, you will not think 
I am influenced by any hope of thus supplanting him in 
your favor. I bow to your decision of this evening as final, 
nor would I cause you to revoke it, if I could, by maligning 
him." 

"John, I believe you ; and I thank you more than I can 
tell for your intended kindness, but 'tis better that we speak 
no further on this subject. It might beget unpleasant feel- 
ings, and I would not feel, nor have you feel, one shade of 
anger, for the world. My heart is sad enough when I think 
what a change one hour has wrought. No more the same 
John and Lulie we have ever been; no more the same play- 
ful attentions you have always paid me, nor the same 
thoughtless encouragement I have given. Respectful cour- 
tesy now our only intercourse. Oh, how little did 1 think, 
when I lightly returned your looks and smiles of love, to 
what it all would lead !" 

" Lulie, darling, I cannot feel anger toward you, whatever 
you do; but, even if you hate me for it, I must tell you of 
Frank Paning. He is utterly destitute of principle. He does 
not love you, and if he did would only love you as his slave. 
He is tyrannical and overbearing, yet sycophantic in his na- 
ture, imposing on the weak and cringing to the strong. Ho 
is free and forward in the presence of ladies, and impui'e and 
slanderous in his remarks about them behind their backs. 

6 



122 SEA-GIFT. 

I have known him to leave a company of ladies, and then, 
for the mere applause of a vulgar throng, make witticisms 
on their appearance and manners that would have caused a 
blush in Cyprus. He does not bear a proper respect for 
you, for I have heard him publicly boast of your love, and 
make remarks that I have been forced to resent." 

"John, do not revile him any more. You perhaps mean 
well, but 'tis an utter waste of breath. For years I have 
loved and trusted him; and if an angel were to stand upon 
the rippling water there and warn me, I would not believe 
Frank false. When I gave him my heart I gave him my 
life, and, though you and all the world turn against him, I 
will cling to him and trust him, and when he spurns me I 
will die." 

"May God protect you, Lulie, my own love, from all 
wrong," and I kissed gently and respectfully her dear, soft 
cheek, henceforth to be for other lips. She did not reproach 
me, but sat gazing at the dancing sunlight on the water. 
I rose and took up the pole that we had left set in the 
bank. A fish had hung itself upon the hook, and, utterly 
exhausted by its unheeded efforts to disengage itself, came 
up from the water limp and motionless. Putting it on 
our string, and tying up our tackle, I assisted Lulie over 
the rail fence, and we ascended the hill and walked up the 
lane in silence. 

Reader! did you ever love earnestly and devotedly? Did 
you ever, after months, perhaps years, of doubt and hesita- 
tion, at last make up your mind to declare it ? and did you 
ever have it rejected, perhaps kindly, perhaps cruelly? If so, 
you know what I felt then. 

So bitterly disappointed, so deeply humiliated to have 
confessed yourself so conceitedly mistaken, and such a wild 
despair in your heart as you think how she will greet 
another with her smiles, while you, poor fool, are forgotten; 
how another's arms will fold her, another's lips press hers ! 



SEA-GIFT. 123 

Oh! there's a world of sad meaning in those exquisite lines 
of Tennyson's : 

" And sweet as those by hopeless Fancy feigDed, 
On lips that are for others." 

Again, before we reached home, we assured each other of 
our kind feelings, and agreed to act as nearly as possible in 
the same old way. 

When we reached the house the others were at tea, the 
table being placed in the hall, without lamps, as the sun was 
hardly down. After being rallied for our solitary fish we 
took our seats, and father, taking from his pocket a bundle 
of letters, ran over them, and tossed one to me. I excused 
myself, and read it at the table. How my face burned and 
my hand shook as I found it was from Paning himself ! His 
father and mother had gone to South Carolina, leaving him 
to devote the balance of his vacation to study. He had got- 
ten lonely keeping house by himself, had written to Ned to 
join him, and they were coming up to spend a couple of 
weeks with me. They would not wait for my reply, as they 
knew I would be glad to see them, but would leave Wil- 
mington by the next train. 

I sat looking at the bold handwriting till the letters 
danced on the page, and father said : 

" John, that is the longest letter I ever saw to be written 
on one page. We have nearly finished tea while you have 
been reading it. From whom can it be ?" 

" It is from Frank Paning, sir. He and Ned Cheyleigh are 
coming up to spend a week or two with me." 

I could not look at Lulie, as I said this, but I knew her 
face was bent over her tea, with the blood scarcely beneath 
the skin. 

"I am glad of that," said mother, "for your sake, John; 
you will then have some company in your rambles." 

I laughed as well as I could, and said " yes, indeed I" 

"And while I think of it," said father, taking another 



124 SEA- GIFT. 

paper from his pocket, " here is a railroad receipt for a horse, 
shipped from Baltimore. He will be at Goldsboro' to-mor- 
row, and as you will go over for the boys, you can bring him 
home with you." 

I assented, but asked what he wanted with another horse 
when he already had several he did not use. 

" But this is something extra, my son, and I did not buy 
him for myself, but for a friend of mine. You will find his 
name on the bill of shipment." 

I looked at it again, and saw that the Bay line had re- 
ceived, in good order, but subject to a score of risks, one 
horse, to be sent to John Smith, Jr., at Goldsboro', N. C. I 
thanked him with all the gratitude I could command under 
the conflict of feelings, and we all went out to the front 
porch, and sat there till the twilight darkened into night. 
Carlotta, with Lulie, took her seat on the steps, and I could 
hear her rich voice even laughing heartily at times as they 
talked together in low tones. I was glad that she was 
resuming her cheerfulness, and felt that I ought to join 
them, and not be so silent and moody in my own home. 
But I somehow wanted to be near mother to-night, and let 
her hand caress my head, because I was in trouble. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The sun shining into my eyes next morning awoke me, 
and turning over I heard the rattle and rub of the brush as 
Reuben polished away on my boots, just outside the door. 

" Reuben," I yawned, " has Horace fed the horses ?" Reu- 
ben came into the room, with one boot casing his arm up to 
the elbow, like an ill-shaped boxing glove, and the brush 
still flying up and down the shining instep. 



SEA-GIFT. 125 

"I d'no, sir, spec he has doe, st — too!" and he stopped 
to spit on the end of the brush, as if he wished to spit the 
hairs away, " he allays de fust one up on de plantash'n." 

"Well, as soon as you get through with the boots, tell 
him to hitch the gray horses to the spring wagon directly 
after breakfast ; I am going to town ; and tell him to put in 
my saddle and bridle, as I want to ride my horse back." 

"Which un, Marse John?" said Eeuben, as he set the 
boots by my bedside, " how's one horse gwine to pull de 
wagin back here agin ?" 

" Dry up, and go tell Horace what I said. It is a new 
horse I am going after, and you have got to attend to him 
for me, and you can ride him to water every day." 

" Golly, dat's 'lishus ; won't dese quarter niggers stand 
back," and he ran down stairs, cutting an audible shuffle 
every third step. 

I was just tying on my cravat when Reuben returned, 
with a lengthened visage and a woful tale. 

" Unken Horris was a waterin' de horses, and when I tole 
him, he said marster dun tole him, and dat was nough ; and 
just cause I tole him to hurry up, he tuk and cut me mos' 
in two with de carridge whip." 

" I expect you were impudent to him ; but he ought not 
to have struck you when I sent you. I will see him about 
it after breakfast." 

This silenced but did not satisfy Reuben, who, like all 
negroes, was anxious enough to see swift punishment fall on 
one who had offended against himself, though he would have 
been full of sympathy for one who suffered for any offence, 
however grievous, against a white person. 

As we drove into Goldsboro', an hour afterwards, the 
whistle sounded, and the morning train came into sight, nod- 
ding up the track ; the engine steamed by like a great hog 
rooting its way along ; then the baggage car, its door open, 
and the baggage master leaning out ; then the coaches, and, 



126 SEA-GIFT. 

as they all came to a stop, amid the shouts of a dozen white 
aproned waiters, who were vowing that every passenger 
had plenty of time to eat the most delicious breakfast ever 
prepared, Frank and Ned, guns in hand, came down the car 
steps. I welcomed them warmly, being delighted to see 
Ned, and determined that I would crush every feeling of 
repugnance to Frank, and receive him with the hospitality 
of a Southern home. As we walked up to our wagon, 
where our grays were prancing and snorting at the train, 
Reuben came around from the hotel stables, whither I had 
sent him for my new horse, leading him by the halter. I 
almost forgot to breathe in my rapt admiration. He was the 
most perfect specimen of horse flesh I had ever seen. His color 
was the deepest chestnut or claret, and his hair looked as if 
it was just wound from the cocoon, and his large prominent 
eye had a soft intelligent expression that was almost human. 
His limbs were as delicate as a gazelle's, yet had that pecu- 
liar turn of the rounded muscles that told of desert born 
ancestors. There was nothing of the charger about him — 
no thunder-clothed neck, nor trumpet-like nostril ; all was 
dainty symmetry, but the symmetry of a form that could 
not know fatigue. 

I could not tell whether he would drive or not, but I felt 
that it would almost be a sin to clog such superb motion 
with harness. I ordered Reuben to put the saddle and 
bridle on him, and turned to Ned and Frank, and asked 
their opinion of him. 

"I'll vow he's a beauty, John," said Frank, as we put the 
valises in the wagon ; " let me ride him home for you, and 
find out his bad points, if he has any." 

I could not refuse, and with much chagrin and disap- 
pointment saw Frank gallop fleetly on ahead of the wagon, 
as we rattled on towards home. Ned and I had much to 
talk about, and almost before we were aware of it, were 
driving down the avenue. 



SEA-GIFT. 127 

Frank had waited for us to come up, and now cantered 
along by the side of the wagon, descanting the praises of my 
stee.d in unmeasured terms. 

When we entered the house, and Ned and Frank were 
met by the family, I was really sorry for Lulie, so great was 
her embarrassment. She could not bear to torture me by 
greeting Frank with the cordiality their relations demanded, 
and she could not bear to hurt his feelings by treating him 
coldly without a cause. Frank noticed her confusion, and 
asked, in his free and easy way, "Why, Lulie, what is the 
matter with you. Have you become so rustic already as to be 
frightened out of your wits by the presence of gentlemen?" 

"Don't let him tease you, Lulie," said mother, coming to 
her aid ; " Frank has mistaken the roses which our fresh air 
has given her for blushes at his presence." 

" Not at all, Mrs. Smith ; I am too much of a connoisseur 
in ladies' faces to mistake confusion for health. I will leave 
it to Miss Rurleston if Lulie wasn't ashamed to meet us." 

But Carlotta, with her face all bright with animation, was 
deeply engaged in questioning Ned about Mr. and Mrs. 
Cheyleigh, and expressing her gratitude for their kindness, 
and did not hear his remark. 

"Well, boys," interrupted mother, "I suppose you are 
both dusty and warm, and wish to go to your rooms. John, 
show them up ; and remember one thing, you. came up here 
to enjoy yourselves ; do so to the fullest extent. Everything 
on the premises that will serve your amusement is at your 
service ; the house and furniture are old, so you need not 
fear to be as boisterous as you please. When you come 
down from your rooms your breakfast will be ready, or I 
will send it up, if you prefer it." 

" You are very kind," said both, " we will soon be down." 

I had persuaded mother to fix the large room for us all 
three, so that we could enjoy ourselves more together than 
if formally separated. 



128 SEA-GIFT. 

As soon as we got into our room, and Frank had thrown 
off his duster and coat, he broke forth in his praises of Car- 
lotta. 

"I'll vow she is superb ; my life I.what an eye she has ! 
I had no idea, when I wrapped her up in our jackets on the 
beach, and she looked so cold and pitiful, that she was such a 
beauty. Ned, she seemed to tackle to you strongly. I 
could not make her hear me." 

"She was only asking me about home. You know she 
staid there several days before she came up to Col. Smith's." 

" She's devilish grave, though," said Frank, pouring the 
basin full of water. 

"Remember, Frank, what she has so recently passed 
through," said I ; " she is really bright when she can forget 
her bereavement ; then, too, she is contrasted here with 
Lulie, who is all life and gaiety." 

" Ah 1" said Frank, wiping the words out of his mouth 
with the towel, "Lulie is the star after all. If she just had 
Carlotta's beauty she would break all your hearts. I won- 
der what she meant, though, by being so confoundedly sour 
towards me. I believe I'll try a little game with Carlotta, 
any way, and see what grit she is made of, if for nothing 
more than to pique Lulie." 

"Frank, you forget Carlotta is my sister, now," I said, 
gravely enough to let him see that I was in earnest, yet not 
enough so to offend him, as he was my guest. 

" Pardons, mille pardons, monsieur," he replied, folding a 
clean collar, and nodding to me gaily. 

" Frank," said Ned, dusting his hat, " you are terribly con- 
ceited. How do you know that your attentions to Miss 
Eurleston will pique Lulie ?" 

" Oh, that's mybiz, you know," returned Frank, shutting 
one eye at him; "but I am afraid we are keeping Mrs. 
Smith's breakfast waiting ; let's go down." 

As we reached the basement stairs Lulie called me out to 



SE A - GIFT. 129 

the porch, while Ned and Frank went down. She was very 
much agitated as she said : 

" John, I must go home to-morrow." 

" Go home, Lulie !" 

" Yes ; it will be a perfect torture to remain here with you 
and Frank. He does not know of anything having passed 
between us, and will be constantly rallying me about a con- 
fusion I cannot conceal, when I think that you are watching 
me and suffering with every smile I give him. Oh, John, I 
am very unhappy about it all." 

"And poor I am the cause of all. But, Lulie, you must 
not go. What will they all think of your leaving so sud- 
denly, when you came up to spend the summer ? I am 
afraid they will think there is something unpleasant between 
you and Carlotta or myself. Lulie, if you will only stay, I 
will promise not to be miserable, however loving you are to 
Frank, and I will endeavor to arrange all our plans so that 
you will not be placed in a single embarrassfhg situation." 

" Your motives are all kind, John, but I alone know how 
I will suffer by remaining here. I must return, and I have 
called you now to ask that you aid me to take my departure 
without any unpleasantness. I will make it all right with 
Carlotta, and I want you to assure Mrs. Smith that neither 
she nor any of the family have given me the slightest cause 
for leaving. If it will make your explanation easier, you 
can even hint at something between Frank and myself. 
Colonel Smith, you know, leaves day after to-morrow for 
Havana, and, as he has to go through Wilmington, I can go 
down with him." 

" So much the more reason for your not going. Father's 
absence will make it lonely here, and we cannot spare you." 

" Do not, dear John, persuade me any longer. I am posi- 
tively determined. Now, won't you please help me to get 
off without so much surprise and resistance on the part of 
others," and she twisted one little finger into the button-hole 

6* 



130 SEA-CHFT. 

of my coat, and looked up at me with such earnest entreaty 
in her eyes, that I readily promised to give her all the aid in 
my power. 

By way of fulfilling this promise, I sought an interview 
with mother, and, after a little confidence in regard to Frank 
and myself, and by hard persuasion, made her promise not 
to express more than conventional surprise and regret at the 
announcement of Lulie's intention. I had a short talk with 
father to the same enect, while Lulie was alone with Car- 
lotta, down under the arbor; so that at the dinner table, 
when Lulie proposed to accompany father to Wilmington, 
there was no great outcry against it. 

All expressed regret. Ned vowed it was a shame for her 
to leave just as they reached here, and Frank simply smiled, 
but a smile so like a sneer I could not tell whether he was 
pleased or otherwise with the announcement. 

After dinner we separated for our afternoon siesta, Frank, 
Ned and I going up to our cool, large room, where, drawing 
our beds between the windows, with a soft breeze playing 
over us, we enjoyed that prince of luxuries, an afternoon 
nap. When we awoke, bathed, dressed, and went down 
stairs, we found the sun quite low down the sky, and Ben 
Bemby out in the front porch, with Carlotta and Lulie, who 
were both laughing at his quaint remarks. I introduced 
my companions, Ned shaking him warmly by the hand, 
Frank saying carelessly, with a stare, " How are you V and 
then, as they all proposed to go to the orchard for fruit, I ex- 
cused myself for a ride. Once upon Phlegon, my beautiful 
courser, flying along through grass-bordered wood paths, 
now reining up on some hill to get a view of the sunset, 
now pausing at a gurgling branch, down in some valley, to 
see him lower his tapering neck and dip his spreading nos- 
trils in the bubbling waters, then on again, with freshened 
speed and tighter rein, I almost forgot that Lulie did not 
love me. 



SEA-GIFT. 131 

That night, after the lamps were lit in the parlor, father 
came in and declared we must lay aside all dignity and 
have a real romp. As he agreed to join us we assented, and 
for hours the house sounded like bedlam. Carlotta, at 
mother's request, participated, and her beauty was as much 
enhanced by the animation of the excitement as is a dia- 
mond when it is brought to the light. 

What a delightful thing is a romp in the country, when 
you can make just as much noise as you please, and no one 
will care; when there is no nervous old lady over the way, 
to send over and beg that you be more quiet, as she has the 
headache; no simple minded policemen, to knock at the door 
and inquire if there is a fire; no next door neighbor to pre- 
sent you as a nuisance ! 

We fully enjoyed the rural privilege, and the old clock in 
the corner had rung out its warning many times unheeded, 
when our games were broken up, as far as the ladies were 
concerned, by the entrance of a bat, for there are few things 
they are more genuinely afraid of than a little leather-wing. 
Like the eyes of a well executed portrait, the bat seems to 
follow you wherever you crouch in the room, and dips with 
regular precision and nicety of distance at your head, how- 
ever low you bow it. Verily, the woman who can stand 
the flutter of its dusky wings is a heroine, beside whom Dae- 
meneta is insignificant ! A broom and pair of tongs soon 
secured its expulsion, and allowed Carlotta and Lulie to re- 
turn to the room. Taking up the lamp, and looking at the 
clock in the sitting room, we found it late, and, bidding each 
other " good night," we went to our rooms. 

" John," said Frank, pushing off one boot with the toe of 
his other, " Miss Rurleston is your sister now, I know, but 

you must excuse me for saying she is superb. I'll sw 

vow her eyes set me crazy. Lulie ain't a whiff to her. By 
the way," he continued, getting up in his stocking feet and 
shirt sleeves to stand before the mirror, while he took off his 



132 SEA-GIFT. 

collar and tie, " I wonder what put the little goose into the 
notion of going home ?" 

"Frank," said Ned, from the bed, where he had thrown 
himself, half undressed, to cool off, "if you do claim Lulie 
as your sweetheart, you shan't speak of her so disrespect- 
fully. She is an old friend of mine, and I will defend her 
from any such epithets." 

"Well, parson," returned Frank, sitting down on the other 
bed, " I will call her the madam, or her highness, if you desire, 
but I do think it is confounded shabby in her to leave us 
now. I'll make up for it with the black eyes, though. Ex- 
cuse me again, ' brother ' John." 

I felt that I could not trust myself to reply, and there was 
a silence for a few minutes, during which Ned yawned, and 
slided off the bed to his knees to say his prayers. 

"Oh, John, I forgot to tell you," said Frank, "that long, 
tow-headed booby, who was here this evening, said he had 
a fine place for fishing to-morrow, and we promised to go 
with him, if it did not conflict with any of your plans." 

" Not at all," said I, " but I must go down and tell mother, 
that she may have breakfast early." 

" No ; she already knows about it, and promised to have 
us up at sunrise." 

" Of course, I am in for anything you all say." 

"Let's go to sleep," said Ned, as he got up from his 
prayers, and fell over on the bed. We let ! 



CHAPTER XYI. 

We were yet at the table when Reuben came in to an- 
nounce that Mr. Bemby's son bad come. We went out to 
the porch, where lie was sitting, his elbow on the railing, 
his chin on his elbow, his white wool hat, without a band, 



SEA-SIKT. 133 

hanging down like the eaves of a barn over his wheat straw 
hair, his red fuzzy wrists, sticking about three inches out 
of his coarse flax coat sleeves, and his broad copper riveted 
shoes gaping so wide about his bony ankles that they 
seemed to have frightened his speckled pants half way up 
his legs ; his poles, lashed together with old leather shoe 
strings, stood against the railing, and his bait-gourd sat on 
the bench at his side. He greeted us with a " good mornin' 
to you," and a smile, without any sound whatever. We all 
shook hands with him, Frank barely tipping his fingers, 
then went back into the house to get our hats and tackle. 
Reuben came out with our dinner in a large basket and we 
were about to start, when Frank ran back up stairs, and soon 
joined us, holding his coat over something against his side. 
As soon as we got into the lane he took out a large black 
bottle of whisky and a bundle of cigars. I said nothing, but 
I could see that Ned was disturbed that Frank should at- 
tempt to do the "fast" with us, for neither of us were yet 
sophisticated enough to smoke or drink. Ben, however, 
smiled, and prolonged his laugh as he shook the bottle and 
watched the bead. 

" That's fine as cat hair," he said, returning the bottle to 
Frank. " Licker's purtty much like er hole in the groun' ; 
keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer ; but less 
pearten er little ; we got er right smart ways to walk now, 
an' it'll be hot enough presn'ly to curl er turckle's shell." 

We accordingly walked on rapidly, Ned and I together, 
and Frank and Ben. Frank, however, had too much of the 
haughty about him for Ben, who soon fell back and gave us 
the benefit of his ever-going tongue. 

"How far is the place where you expect to fish, Mr. 
Bemby?" inquired Ned. 

" None er your misters for me ; jus' call me Ben," said he, 
shifting his poles from one shoulder to another. " I'm er 
gwine to take you up to old Nancy Mucket's hole." 



134 SEA- GIFT. 

" Nancy who ?" I asked. " What in the world do they 
call it by such a name, for ?" 

" 'Cause old Nancy Mucket got drownded there. I have 
heerd daddy tell 'bout it er thous'n times. Old Nance was 
er mon'sus fisher, an' old Dave Mucket tole her whatever she 
done not to tech his ash pole. Nance she tuck it right down 
an' went to the creek. She never come back by night, an' 
next day they drug the creek, and pulled her up from the 
bottom, where she was hung under er root. She had the 
very ash pole in her grip, and when the corrunner sot on 
her, ole Dave he come up and shuck his head mighty solemn 
like, and talks : "Nance, I tole you so ; whenever wimmin 
gits to doin' men's doos they gits into trouble. God made 
'em she folks fus, and they'll have to stay she till the worl 
busts.' Daddy mighty offen tells mo'er 'bout it when she 
wants to go roun' by herself or drive to town." 

" Is it a good place to fish ?" asked Frank. 

"Tain't bad," said Ben, laconically, at the same time 
throwing his legs, one after the other, over a low rail fence, 
and saying, " Here's the place !" 

We followed him over the fence, and through some tangled 
vines, and stopped at the water's edge; the bank covered 
with short, thick grass, the shade perfectly dense, the yellow 
waters of the creek curdled with clear rings and ripples from 
a noisy branch, that bubbled limpidly from the coolest of 
springs over the whitest of pebbles. 

Just where the clear and muddy water mingled, Ben 
affirmed the fish would bite best. We undid our poles and 
baited our hooks. Ben and Frank had a little unpleasant- 
ness, arising from Frank's claiming a place for his pole to 
the detriment of Ben's position. His manner and words 
were so insulting that Ben was about to strike him, when 
Ned and I interfered, and prevented blows. 

We found, as Ben had said, it was a capital place to fish, 
for we were kept busily employed in attending to our poles. 



SEA-GIFT. 135 

Ben, however, easily beat us all. He some way had a knack 
of fixing his bait and spitting on his hook, so that his line 
would scarcely touch the water before a fish would seize it. 

The morning waned, however, and the sun had laid the 
shadows of the poles directly under them, when we all agreed 
that it was time for lunch. 

We carried our basket up to the spring, which bubbled 
out of a large rock, and where Nature had spread us a table 
with a green velvet cloth. Ham sandwiches, with just 
enough mustard, broiled and devilled fowl, cold tongue, 
with the parsley between the slices, together with heaps of 
covered fruit pies, and mother's especial boast, biscuit glace, 
in the whitest of paper, to say nothing of a barrow full of 
peaches and melons which Reuben rolled down from the 
house, and placed to cool in a pond dammed up for the 
occasion ; all were presented to appetites sharpened by the 
sport of the morning. Reversing the order of Aladdin's 
feast, our viands disappeared with as wonderful celerity as 
his appeared. After we had fairly choked the branch with 
a mound of water-melon rinds and peach parings, we took 
our seats farther up on the grass, and left Reuben to clear 
up the table. Frank now drew forth his bottle of brandy 
and proposed that each one of us should tell a short story, 
entirely his own, and that he who could tell the most im- 
probable, should have the bottle to himself. Ben stretched 
himself out on the grass, with his arm under his head, and 
said, drowsily, as he tore off with his teeth a large quid of 
tobacco from a twist he drew from his pocket : 

" Blaze away wi' yer lies. I'm a biled mullen stalk ef I 
can't win at that game." 

Ned firmly declared he did not want any of the brandy, 
but said he would tell his story with the rest, merely to help 
out the fun. By request I was excused, that I might act 
as judge, and Frank, rapping on the bottle with his knife, 
asked Ned to begin. Ned reclined on one elbow, and said : 



136 SEA-GIFT. 

NED'S STORY. 

" I will tell you what happened in the western part of the 
State, for Frank's benefit. Our family were summering at a 
small town near the mountains some years ago, when a cir- 
cus passed through that section, stopping for a day at our 
town. Every wall of every house that presented surface 
enough had for weeks been spread over with the marvellous 
high colored illustrations of what were to be seen under that 
mighty, mystic canvas. They were the same pictures, or 
I should rather say works of art, combining the airy light- 
ness and licensed fancy of Correggio with the Dutch fidelity 
of Rembrandt, which you have, perhaps, all seen at different 
times pasted, with weather-proof adherence, to any visible 
portion of public places. There were troops of monkeys, • 
done in the blackest of colors, swinging from the greenest of 
trees, across the widest and bluest of rivers, by tails of im- 
possible length and elasticity. There were ibexes leaping 
into bottomless abysses, thereby defeating the design of the 
artist, who would have them to alight upon their horns. 
There was the traditional polar bear, defending her cubs and 
leisurely lunching on a sandwich of two seals and a sailor. 
The actual bear in the circus, I have found by long experi- 
ence, invariably dies at the previous stopping place, be- 
queathing, tenderly, its. skin to the public of to-morrow, 
thereby undergoing a constancy of death and a multitude of 
bequests that would startle the profundity of a probate 
judge. There were pleasant side groups of men lassoing the 
giraffe and zebra, tripping the rhinoceros, and tearing off 
tigers from the very hams of elephants, on whose backs were 
huddled not quite a full regiment of soldiers in all stages of 
the manual of arms. But the chef d'ceuvre was the centre- 
piece, as large as life, representing the clown, dressed in 
the American flag, with stars left out, with a hat reaching 
too infinite a point with its peak to be measured by any rule 



SEA-GIFT. 137 

in conic sections, and cheeks too flamingly hectic for medical 
aid, handing, with the utmost gravity, a dish of boiled eggs 
to a sedate and diminutive mule, seated on its haunches, 
with its fore feet up on a barrel as its table — the only posi- 
tion, by the way, in which I think a mule could be safely 
approached with anything so far from its usual bill of fare 
as eggs." 

" Dog gone yo circus picturs I" interrupted Ben, raising 
up on one elbow to spit a stream of tobacco juice several 
yards behind us, "I c'n see them might' nigh every year 
stuck 'gin the warehouse over in town ; go on wi yo yarn." 

"Well," continued Ned, kindly taking no affront at Ben's 
abrupt interruption, " I will hasten on. I merely wished to 
show how public expectation was worked up to a high 
pitch. After awhile the day came, and with it the circus — 
wagon after wagon, with tent poles and furniture ; then thfc 
cages with the animals, all closed except the little lattice at 
the top, through which could now and then be heard the 
scream of a monkey or the cough of a lion, and then the 
gorgeous, gilded band chariot, with its music. Negroes, 
and boys, of which I was one, were almost crazy with excite- 
ment ; we danced and shouted along the sidewalk in a pro- 
miscuous throng, ever keeping up with the long train of 
plumed horses drawing after them the gilded dragon, with 
its backful of brazen melody. But our glee was hushed into 
a very silence of admiration as we saw coming far behind 
the band chariot, with solemn grandeur, the great elephant, 
its broad ears waving like dusky fans, and its proboscis twist- 
ing, like a great serpent cut in two, slowly from side to side as 
he came on, looming like a gigantic tower, through the dust. 
As he approached and passed us, his small eyes twink- 
ling so knowingly on the crowd, his keeper on a dappled 
horse, pacing along so fearlessly by his ponderous foreleg, 
and his dog trotting carelessly under his curling trunk, the 
open mouths of the crowd must have relieved him to a con- 



138 S E A - G I F T . 

siderable extent of the dust he seemed to deprecate so much 
by his fanning ears. 

"Well, to hurry on without so much detail, the canvas was 
pitched, the keeper carried the elephant to the river to cool 
out, and then brought him up, and tied him to one of the 
posts of the market house, which was near the pavilion, 
till the afternoon performance should commence. At the 
hour he went round, decked in his Oriental costume, and 
undid the fastening, and spoke in some unknown tongue to 
his mammoth charge. The elephant started, made a step 
forward and stopped, with a shrill cry of pain. The keeper 
looked up surprised, then uttering a few genuine American 
oaths, ordered him to move. Again the elephant made a 
great effort, and again stood still, with a prolonged scream. 
The keeper, now furious, approached, and drove his short 
training spike into him again and again. With each stab 
the poor creature would shriek and strain to the uttermost 
its cumbrous limbs, but all in vain, it could not move from 
where it stood. There was something so new in this appa- 
rent obstinacy that the keeper commenced to examine his 
position. He found one of the market house posts nearly 
pulled from its place, and the elephant's tail, stretched to its 
last tenacity, sticking out straight as a poker towards the 
post, though not touching it by several inches, and having 
no visible connection whatever with it. Again he urged the 
animal forward, and again the elephant did his best to 
move. Just before his tail pulled out by the roots the post 
gave way, and tumbling over, hung dangling at the ele- 
phant's heels. The keeper took the post in his hands, and, 
looking closely, found that a little spider had spun a web 
from the elephant's tail to the post, and that this invisible 
thread had held him stronger than a chain of steel. Such a 
crowd had now gathered that the keeper found the elephant 
was drawing more people than the circus proper (or im- 
proper), and ordered him to move, that he might carry 



SEA-GIFT. 139 

him under the canvas. The elephant obeying, moved for- 
ward, but the motion of his body set the post to swinging 
like a pendulum, which, increasing in its oscillation, at last 
commenced to thump him in the side harder than he fancied 
was comfortable. The thumps became more violent as he 
increased his speed, till, at last becoming frenzied with the 
blows, and the shouts, and hootings of the crowd, he broke 
away from the keeper, and ran hither and thither in the 
streets as fast as his unwieldly body could move, knocking 
over signs and boxes, breaking racks, frightening horses, and 
occasionally jostling over a clumsy man or two. At last he 
plunged through the great wide door of the court house, 
scraping his back against the brick arch as he did so. The 
post here fortunately got across the door and checked him. 
He pulled frantically, but the little web would not break ; 
he then bent himself around as far as an elephant might, 
and tried to tear it off with his proboscis. The web, how- 
ever, was so fine that it cut into even his tough trunk, and 
burying itself under the skin, held his proboscis fast to his 
tail. In his efforts now to disengage himself he fell, and lay 
helpless on the ground, and at last had to be rolled with an 
immense handspike over and over, like a very large hoop, 
till he got to the tent, or canvas, under which he was rolled, 
and perhaps unfastened. 

" The prominent gentlemen of the town obtained part of 
the web, and forwarded it, with proper credentials, to several 
scientific societies for analysis. They each gave a different 
opinion in regard to the cause of its wonderful tenacity, but 
the people about the town always believed, and with very 
good reason, too, that the spider which spun it had been 
feeding on the beef brought to that market ; and thus 
accounting for it, they ceased to wonder at the toughness of 
the web." 

"Ned, that's a jolly good yarn," said Frank, tossing the 



140 SEA-GIFT. 

serpentine paring of a peach over his shoulder, and puffing 
out one jaw with a large section of the luscious fruit. 

"Less hear the lord juke tell his'n," said Ben, nodding 
towards Frank, and pushing himself up backwards by his 
hands to a large tree, against which he leaned, and folded 
his arms around one doubled-up knee ; " should'n be sup- 
pris'n ef he can tell a buster, he's in such good practice." 

" Well," replied I, " we will leave all discussion of the 
merits of each one's story to the umpire, and proceed. 
Frank, it is your time next." 

FRANK'S STORY. 

" I hardly know what to tell," he said, taking aim at Ben's 
foot with the peach stone he had been sucking. " Ned has 
fairly taken the wind out of my sails. Let me see ; I believe 
I'll tell you what happened to me once when I was very 
small. I was out one day in the mountains bird-nesting — a 
wicked employment, by the way, which perhaps accounts 
for my mishap — and found a very large hawk's nest. It 
was in the very top of a ragged old pine, that grew upon the 
edge of the most frightful precipice in the country. It was 
a sheer descent of five or six hundred feet, looking almost 
perpendicular, though in some places it bulged out with 
rugged rocks, and in others retreated into caves. All down 
the face of the cliff were little scrubby bushes, which grew 
straight out for an inch or two, then suddenly turned up in 
their course, as if determined to see beyond the great rocky 
wall that towered so far above them. The old pine had en- 
dured the agony of fear for centuries, for though its gnarled 
trunk leaned far over the abyss, the limbs had all turned to- 
ward the firm earth, and stretched their hard, knotty hands 
appealingly to the surrounding forest. Rain after rain had 
washed awaj the soil and left the roots exposed, till half the 
foundation stood over the precipice and added its weight to 



SEA-GIFT. 141 

the leaning trunk. It was not without much hesitation and 
debate with myself that I prepared to ascend. I reasoned, 
however, that if it had stood that long through wind and 
storm it would not take such a still, calm day to fall ; and 
then, even if its foundation was precarious, my weight 
would be so infinitely small, compared with its own, that it 
would never make a perceptible addition. The temptation, 
too, was a great one, for I had seen the hawk, one of the 
largest kind, fly away as I approached, and then the climb- 
ing was very easy, for a ladder-like vine wound its leafy 
folds clear up to the top, like a great green serpent seeking 
the eggs. I took off my jacket and commenced to ascend. 
With well rubbed pants and an irritating quantity of pine 
bark next to my skin I reached the first limb, where I rested ; 
then went on to the top, like going up stairs. At last I 
reached the nest, and there — rich reward for my trouble — 
lay four brown splotched eggs. Before I proceeded to take 
them out and tie them in my handkerchief I took a glance 
at my position. One look satisfied me, and made me faint 
and dizzy. From my standpoint the tree seemed to stretch 
out horizontally over the chasm which yawned hungrily be- 
low, and, looking at it as I did, through the branches of the 
tree, it seemed far deeper and more awful than it really was. 
Far down at the bottom, where the trees and shrubs shrank 
to the level of a green plush-looking surface, two or three 
cows were grazing, and they appeared just the size of the 
toy cows in my Noah's ark. As I had to descend to the 
level of the valley on my way home, I could not resist the 
boyish temptation to throw my hat out into the air and let it 
float down ; I accordingly balanced it nicely and let it go. It 
sank steadily for a little while, then began to rock from side 
to side, and finally relapsed into the regular spiral descent, 
twisting down and down till my eyes could not follow the 
tiny speck. While gazing down to discover it, if possible, I 
was startled by a sharp crack near the foot of the tree ; 



142 SEA-GIFT. 

another and another followed, and I looked in terror at the 
roots, to find that the ground was rising slowly upward in a 
slanting direction from me. The tree was giving way, and 
gradually sinking more and more swiftly over that hell of 
destruction. I heard the tearing up of the roots and the 
sh — sh of the foliage through the air, and I knew no more. 

When I awoke I was swinging delightfully, as if in a 
hammock. Thick leaves were all around me, and when I 
parted them and looked out my position was plain. I had 
caught in the net work of vines in the top of the tree, and 
was now hanging by one strand of rope-like vine to the tree, 
which was dangling, top downwards, about fifty feet above 
me. I found, to my great comfort, that I was in a compara- 
tively safe bed, well padded with abundant leaves, and held 
by strong cords which branched from the vine rope. This 
was so twined about the trunk of the inverted tree that it 
could not become detached ; so that my only real danger 
was that the immense tree itself, hanging above me by a few 
roots that had not given way, might at any moment break 
from its slight support and plunge, with me beneath it, into 
the vast depths below. The very hopelessness of my posi- 
tion made me perfectly reckless and indifferent ; and finding 
that the motion of my descent had given me a considerable 
swing, I endeavored to augment it by the constant change 
of my position, leaning first on one side, then on the other. 
I succeeded so well that I was soon sweeping through an 
arc of an hundred feet, with a rush through the air at 
every swoop that made my cheeks tingle. With every 
swing I increased my speed, and there is no telling to what 
extent I might have carried the wild excitement of the mo- 
ment, had I not been checked by coming in violent contact 
with the face of the precipice. The blow almost stunned 
me, but it fortunately stopped my swing, and, with a gradu- 
ally decreasing oscillation, I lay still in my nest of leaves. 
When I awoke 'twas late in the afternoon, and I found that 



SEA-GIFT. 143 

I was extremely hungry. I ate two of the hawk eggs and 
felt relieved. I put the other two away, resolved not to 
touch them till I was absolutely compelled. 

Having nothing better to do, I amused myself by swing- 
ing again, though I took good care not to swing far enough 
to strike the side of the cliff. The sun at last went down, 
and darkness crept over the dismal woods. Far up above, 
the stars began to twinkle brightly in the sky, and far 
down below, the dark void grew intensely black. With a 
trembling dread of the dark grim night, and yet with a 
strange sense of security — a feeling of safety from all other 
dangers — I tried to go to sleep. With a faithful remem- 
brance of the old lady's instructions I said my prayers as 
well as the distraught condition of my mind would allow. 

All through the long dreary night I was dozing off, only 
to dream that I was falling from my nest, and to awake with 
a cold shudder of horror. 

After dreary hours of these terrors 1 hailed with delight 
the faint beams of approaching day. Brighter and brighter 
grew the sky, till, with a sudden flood of gold, the sun rose 
upon the world. What a bright, warm feeling of hope 
morning brings to the weary watcher 1 I knew that friends 
would soon be on the search, and I lay in constant expecta- 
tion of their shouts. Nor had I long to wait ; for soon the 
woods were ringing with their loud halloos, as they called 
and listened for my voice. At length I saw a party far be- 
low pick up my hat, and from their anxious grouping 
around it, and busy search among the rocks immediately 
afterwards, I knew they thought I had fallen over the preci- 
pice and was lying, a mangled corpse, somewhere near. I 
called and called in vain ; they moved slowly hither and 
thither, and finally passed out of sight, carrying my hat 
with them. 

My heart sank within me, and, burying my face in the 
leaves of my pillow, I sobbed and moaned most piteously. 



144 SEA-GIFT. 

Suddenly, in the very acme of my anguish, I heard my name 
called aloud, and, looking up through my tears, saw half a 
score of friendly, anxious faces looking down from the edge 
of the cliff. Half ashamed of my weakness, yet still crying 
for joy, I shouted, and begged them for Heaven's sake to 
help me out of my terrible predicament. They had no ropes 
with them, and it was a long way to town where they could 
be procured, so I could see there was an animated discus- 
sion among them in reference to the best ways and means 
to relief. I heard one say, in an angry tone, "I tell you its 
a sho' thing. The wind hain't never turned it, and I'll bet 
my own life agin your pus, and that's empty, that it'll hold 
him for ever. Look at them ribs, man ! Sheer! let her drap. 
I'll be 'sponsible for his life." 

The next instant an enormous blue cotton umbrella dropped 
down beside me, and a rough voice shouted, " Put your foot 
in the crook of the handle ; hold her up stiff; she'll let you 
down square."* 

Whether the femininity of the umbrella inspired confi- 
dence, or the desperate state of my feelings urged me on, I 
cannot say, but getting on the edge of my nest, putting my 
foot in the strong oak curved handle for a stirrup, and 
grasping the staff firmly, I slipped from the vines, and floated 
slowly down, the old umbrella popping and straining as if 
it was going to fly to pieces. But with the exception of 
rubbing the edges on the rocks, and straightening out the 
ribs by the pressure of the atmosphere, I landed safely at 
the foot of the precipice, where I found the old man sobbing 
over my hat as if I was dead. He no sooner found that I 
was really unhurt than he put up his handkerchief, and cut a 
before long switch, with which he thrashed me soundly right 
the assembled throng of friends. I thought then, and still 
think, it was a singular way of thanking Providence for my 
safe delivery. This is about all I have to tell, except that the 
old gent had a gold handle put on the old c'otton umbrella. 



SEA-GIFT. 145 

"Go ahead, now, what's-your-name ; let us hear what you 
can do in the shape of a yarn." 

1?rank drew the fruit basket to him, searched through it 
for the largest peach, and, hastily peeling it, threw himself 
back on the grass to listen to Ben. 

Ben very deliberately rose, and tossed away his quid of 
tobacco, took some water to cleanse his mouth, and walked 
to a bush near by, from which he cut a large branch with 
an old horn-handle knife, out of which he blew almost a 
pipeful of tobacco crumbs before opening the blade. Taking 
his seat again, he commenced to trim up his switch and to 
tell his story. 

BEN'S STORY. 

" Your two friends, John, has both on 'em told good yarns, 
but they went mighty fur from home to get 'em. I'm a gwine 
to tell you what happened right up yonder at the house. 
Some time along the fust of last year mo'er took her up a 
house pig, to raise offen the slops and peelins. It growed 
and fattened a power, and was soon 'bout the likeliest hog 
on the plantation, only it got so cussed tame twould'n never 
git outer nobody's way, and was a continuwell being stepped 
on, and drug outer the house by the leg. Arter the little 
fool had been grown awhile, she come up one day with 
eleven pigs, as lively as you ever see, and pime blank like 
her, a squealin' and runnin' everywhere they hadn't orter. 
I heard a riddle wonst 'bout a pig under a gate makin' a 
noise, but he ain't a lighten-bug's lamp to a pig when he's 
hungry. The older they got the wuss they squealed, till 
dad said as how he could'n stand it no longer, the sow 
and pigs had to be moved ; so me and him bilt a pen 'bout 
two hundred yards from the house, and driv 'em down to it. 
There was a free nigger, with a yard full of children, livin' 
'bout as fur from the pen as we did ; and the fust night 
after we'd put 'em up, long todes bed time, I heer a pig 

1 



146 SEA-GIFT. 

squeal like dyin', but I thought perhaps he'd got cut out of 
his suck, and I never thought on 'em agin till next morning, 
when I went down to feed 'em ; two of the pigs was bloody- 
behind, and, when I looked close, thare tails was gone. I 
knowed 'twas the niggers, for a fried pig's tail is the best 
thing a nigger knows how to eat. I tole the ole man 'bout 
it soon's I got back, and he said how we'd wait till the next 
mornin'. When we went to the pen agin thare was two 
more tails gone, and two more bloody pigs. Daddy sot on 
a rail sometime a studin, then he said, sudden-like : 

"Bengermin, go to the house, and fetch me a shingle an 
my powder horn, an the big gimblet." 

I ran off, a wond'rin' what in the crashen the ole man was 
gwine to do with a gimblet and a shingle. Soon as I come 
back he tole me to get in the pen, and ketch one of the pigs 
with his tail on. When I histed one up, he tuk him and 
tied his tail out straight on the shingle, so it twould'n bend. 
He tuk the gimblet, and started in the tip eend of the pig's 
tail, and bored it clear out. The bloody shavins come a 
bilin' up round the grooves of the gimblet, and the pig 
squealed till the air 'peared to be full of hopper grasses, 
tryin' to kick in my years. When daddy pulled the gimblet 
out, the tail looked like a holler skin quill, and would hold 
'bout a double load of powder. Daddy poured it chock full, 
then put a fo-penny nail, with a gun cap on the eend of it, 
down 'mongst the powder, so that it 'd go off if any thing 
totch it, and then tied it all up with horse hair. When I 
put him back in the pen that pig didn't have nary a curl to 
his tail ; it stuck out as straight and stiff as if it was a han- 
del to tote him by. We fixed two more in the same way, 
and then went home. Next morning, when we went clown, 
we found one pig dead, with his hams ready baked, and his 
back bone drove through his forehead six inches. His tail 
itself was split open like a shot fire-cracker, and bent back- 
erds like a shelled pea hull. The other two tails had just 



SEA-GIFT. 141 

shot straight without bustin', but the kick of the powder had 
lifted up their hind legs so high they could'n git 'em down 
agin, and they was walkin' round the pen on thare forefeet 
samer'n a circus man. When we came to zamine the pen we 
found three niggers' fingers blowed off, and sticking to a rail, 
and little kinks of wooly hair were layin' round as thick as if 
it had snowed black. Daddy and me then went up to the 
nigger's house, where we found a good size boy and girl 
with their hands tied up, and thare heads burnt slick on 
top. When we asked 'em 'bout it, the boy said the girl 
was a nussin the baby, and went down to the pen to keep 
the baby quiet, and he just went along for company like. 
He said they got to the pen, and was a peepin' through 
the rails, when one of the pigs come to scratch hisself, and 
soon's he begin to rub he busted all to pieces. They were 
mighty badly skeered, and, to keep 'em so, daddy tole 'em 
them was some thunder-tailed hogs he got from the South. 
We never had another hog troubled in the least, and when 
hog-killing time came daddy found it mighty hard to get the 
hands to help him. That's the end of my yarn." 

And Ben got up and walked to the spring, where a large 
curved handled gourd hung on a stick cut for the purpose, 
and, disdaining Reuben's offer of a glass, took the gourd, and 
dipping up half the spring, drank till the long crooked han- 
dle curled over his hat, and bent back like an officer's plume 
in a windy parade. When he had resumed his seat on the 
grass all three called for my judgment, and, with an assump- 
tion of great solemnity and dignity, I proceeded to render it. 

" The object, gentlemen, of a wonderful story, or yarn, as 
it is vulgarly called, is not only to excite wonder, but also 
to evoke a pleasant surprise by discovering relations be- 
tween dissimilar or contrary things, which we did not think 
of as possibly existing. If these dissimilars or contraries 
are too far apart for the mind to recognize any possible re- 
lation, then the narration becomes unpleasantly absurd, and 



148 SEA-GIFT. 

we shrink from contemplating it. If, however, apparently 
improbable relations are brought out in a way that renders 
them possible, we are surprised and pleased with the dis- 
covery. Hence, the most exaggerated narrations are not 
always the most entertaining, and we derive most pleasure 
from hearing or reading those stories where impi*obabilities 
are unexpectedly brought within the range of possibility, or 
if beyond it, the fact is ingeniously concealed by possible 
concomitants. Thus, Munchausen's descent from the moon 
by a rope of cut straw is not half so pleasant a story as the 
firing his gun by sparks drawn from his eye with his fists. 
So, were you to tell an audience that you saw a mole move 
a mountain no one would be pleased or surprised, as the 
mind would have no effort to pronounce it entirely false; but 
if you should say you saw a fly trained to play a tune by 
buzzing his wings from the top to the bottom of a wine 
glass, the minds of your hearers would be pleasantly occu- 
pied for a while in eliminating the true from the false, and 
your story would be applauded. 

" Ned, to-day, in his story, erred by placing his relations too 
far apart. A spider and an elephant ! There is no exercise 
of ingenuity in detecting the falsity of the statement, and 
the story, from its very improbability, is almost out of the 
range of competition for the prize. Frank has so mixed his 
that I scarcely know how to render an opinion in regard to 
it. The impossible parts are utterly so, and the possible 
are so easily probable we are not surprised. To Ben, then, 
I award the prize, as having produced the most entertaining 
story, exciting pleasant surprise in each development, and 
discovering possibilities in the most unthought of relations.'' 

" Oh ! blow your philosophic nonsense, John," said Frank, 
handing Ben the bottle of brandy ; "you got it out of a 
book, and I'm the devil's apprentice if I didn't earn the 
brandy fairly." 

Ben proffered us the bottle, but Ned and I declined. Frank, 



SEA-GIFT. 149 

however, took it, and, with more swagger than swallow, 
turned it up to his mouth. Ben poured himself out a glass- 
ful, and the bottle was set aside for a smoke. Frank drew 
forth his cigars, Ben his pipe. Strange to say, I dreaded 
more to appear squeamish before Ben, whom I looked upon 
as an inferior, than I did either of the others, and with a 
blush for my weakness took a cigar. Ned declined again, 
for which Frank called him Parson Conscience, and we pro- 
ceeded to light. Oh, dire beginning of troubles ! I first bit 
off the end of my cigar, and could not get the end out of my 
mouth. I sputtered and spit, and twisted my face into more 
hideous contortions than Medusa ever wore, but I could not 
eject that little crumbling fragment of tobacco. Now under 
my tongue, now in the roof of my mouth, and now going 
down like a pill. I finally had to take it out disgracefully 
with my fingers. Getting over that, I lit the cigar — a hard 
black cigar — and commenced to smoke. With the exception 
of the pain I experienced from crossing my eyes to look at 
the end of my cigar, I got on very well for several puffs, 
then I found that I could not expel all the smoke from my 
mouth, a little would remain and get up my nose or go down 
into my lungs. I expectorated, too, very constantly, so that 
my throat became so insufferably dry, I swallowed just once 
to relieve it, and oh ! the bitter, burning taste that went 
groping down to my stomach ! Clear my throat as I would 
I could not get it up ; more and more bitter it became with 
each succeeding puff. And now a singular sensation came 
on ; a cloud of swan's down, or carded tow steeped in this 
same nauseating bitterness, seemed slowly ascending up into 
my brain, and piling up in sickening oppression just behind 
my eyeballs, so that I felt a constant desire to close them 
and roll them inward to see this feathery pain. I felt no in- 
terest in the conversation and was absent in all my replies 
to questions addressed to me, but I tried to look careless and 
at ease. I even took off my hat and leaned back against a 



150 SEA-GIFT. 

tree, as if in a high state of enjoyment, and tried to flip off 
the ashes from my cigar with the air of an old smoker. Not 
understanding this sleight-of-hand practice, my third finger 
passed so slowly under the burning end that it came out the 
other side loaded with ashes, and ornamented with a large 
white blister. 

"Smith, how do you like your weed?" said Frank, blow- 
ing out a cloud of smoke, holding his cigar daintily between 
his fore and middle fingers. 

"Very much 'ndeed," I said faintly ; "'tis very fragrant." 

The tow or down now pressed so hard and bitterly upon 
my eyeballs that it confused my vision. Frank, Ned and 
Ben were continually changing places, and their conversa- 
tion seemed to belong to a different period of my life. Ob- 
jects were still enough when I gazed steadily at them, but 
when I winked and then looked, they would seem to be in 
different places. I tried closing my eyes for relief, but the 
great downy mass of nausea crowding my brain was almost 
visible, and I was glad to open them again. Still the bitter, 
burning taste in my mouth kept going down into my stom- 
ach, yet lingering with its sickening flavor on my palate. A 
cold perspiration stood on my forehead and hands, and I felt 
that I was looking deadly pale. I made an attempt at a 
yawn to conceal my faint voice, and said : 

" I believe I will take a nap. Wake me if the fish bite." 

I got up and tried to walk to a little hillock a few steps 
off ; but at every step the ground seemed to rise in a steep 
hill or sink into a fearful declivity before my feet, and I 
staggered like a drunken man. 

" Hello, Smith ; has the cigar got you ? I thought you 
had better pluck." 

I was too faint to answer, but fell down, with my head 
hid by a tree, and with many death-like heavings sank into 
a drowsy unconsciousness. When I awoke it was late in 
the afternoon, and all was still around me. Staggering to 



SEA-GIFT. 151 

my feet I heard the distant hum of voices, and taking a deep 
draught of the cool spring water to slake my feverish thirst, 
I walked unsteadily down to the creek, where I found my 
companions fishing with fine success. My vision was not 
sufficiently restored to admit of my angling, so I sat on the 
fence and yawningly watched the others till it was time to 
go home. With well filled baskets Ben, Frank and Ned 
walked along merrily, while I stalked on miserably, with a 
throbbing in my temples and an awkward consciousness of 
being ashamed of everybody, and especially of myself. 

At supper I drank a little tea, and, pleading a headache, 
hurried up to my room. As soon as the servants had been 
served, mother came up stairs to look after me. She found 
me with some fever and symptoms of violent cold. A kiss 
when she came into the room told her I had been smoking, 
and she smiled as she passed her hand gently over my head, 
and said : 

"John, you have been smoking to-day, and, from your 
restless, impatient look, you expect a long lecture, but I 
will wait before I say what I have to say on the subject. I 
want you to get to sleep now. It is so warm I will open 
the window, and take out the lamp to prevent the insects 
coming in, and I hope you will become composed." 

She left the room, and I began that hardest of all 
tasks — trying to go to sleep. An intensely hot night 1 just 
light enough out doors to make a checked square of the 
window ; not a leaf quivering ; not a sound without but 
the incessant quavers of the katydids ; down stairs the 
noise and mirth of merry converse 1 

Tossing from side to side of the bed ; now shaking up my 
pillow, then reversing my position, and lying with my head 
at the foot board ; then stretching directly across the bed, 
with my hands hanging down over the sides ; in all posi- 
tions I vainly sought a cool place. The very sheets, except 
that they were wrinkled, seemed to have just come from 



152 SEA-GIFT. 

under the iron ; and even the mahogany of the foot board, 
when I laid my cheek against it, felt tepidly disagreeable. 
At last, after trying every conceivable position on the bed, 
I fell asleep with my feet pressed against the cool wall, and 
while watching a firefly that had gotten into the room, and 
was flashing his tiny lamp hither and thither as he flitted 
along the ceiling, trying to escape. My slumber was uneasy 
and fitful, and I was dreaming of strange oppressions and 
sensations, and continually waking, to hear the laughter 
and mirth down stairs. 

Perhaps conscience added a thorn to my pillow ; but I 
could remember no definite sin I had committed. The cigar 
was surely not wrong, for father, and a great many others 
who were good, smoked. I could not then analyze my moral 
nature and detect the wrong, but years have since shown 
me 'twas in the lack of moral courage, in the yielding to 
what I was ashamed of, simply because I was ashamed to 
refuse. 

Very young men deem the cigar an important adjunct to 
manhoodj and when they smoke to look manly, the oath 
and glass are not far off. A good rule in forming this almost 
national habit is to light your first cigar before father or 
mother without a blush, and the harm resulting will be 
solely physical. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Father and Lulie have been gone an hour ; father on his 
way to Havana, Lulie returning to Wilmington. Frank and 
Ned have gone with them over to town. I am lying on a 
lounge ig the hall, and mother and Carlotta are sitting near 
me, arranging flowers for the parlor vases. Lulie got off 
without much trouble with the assistance of mother's tact ; 



SEA-GIFT. 153 

Ned expressing great surprise, while Frank was almost 
rude in his solicitations to her to remain. Dear little dar- 
ling, how tenderly she bade me farewell, whispering as she 
pressed my hand, "Don't be hurt at my leaving, John, 'tis 
for your sake as much as mine !" 

My eyes are closed, and mother and Carlotta think I am 
asleep, but through a scarcely lifted lid I am watching Car- 
lotta, feasting my eyes on her beautiful face and form. She 
is sitting just inside the hall door, with a lap full of 
flowers, and though I cannot see her face, I gaze on an arm 
and hand that Phidias might dream of, but never carve. 

Her muslin sleeve was turned up to her shoulder, to be out 
of the way, and the flesh, soft and snowy, swelled out from 
the richly worked undersleeve, and almost imperceptibly 
tapered to the elbow, with here and there a tiny thread of 
blue, winding its way under the transparent skin. At the 
elbow two dimples showed where the liquid flesh eddied 
round the curve, and a slope of perfect grace carried it to the 
wrist ; here no knots disfigured, no roughness marred it, 
but, smooth and delicate, the wrist became a fitting bridge 
between such a hand and arm. Her hair, caught back by 
a crimson velvet band, fell in a dark shower over her 
shoulders ; not the wiry ringlets, nor the hard straight locks 
that all are familiar with, but in soft undulating waves it 
fell, as if fairies were trembling the silken strands. Her pro- 
file was exquisite, and the beautiful proportion of each fea- 
ture, and the delicate tints that overspread them, formed 
altogether a picture that has rarely been surpassed for loveli- 
ness. The peculiar witchery of the face, as I gazed upon it, 
was enhanced by an occasional frown and arch of the pen- 
cilled brow, as she endeavored to draw a refractory thread 
through the stems of the flowers. 

Mother, at last speaking, broke the spell that bound me. 

"Carlotta, darling, Col. Smith told you of the letter he 
received from your father's agent in Havana, did he not ?" 

7* 



154 SEA-GIFT. 

" He told me of it, and also showed me the letter. Papa 
always thought his agent very trusty, and I suppose Col. 
Smith will find everything arranged properly." 

After another pause, mother asked again : 

" Who is this cousin who claims the estate ?" 

"He is mother's half nephew. He was always a great 
favorite with papa, and staid almost half his time with us, 
though his home was on the other side of the island. Papa 
used to promise him, when I was a very little girl, that I 
should be his wife, but he was so much older than I, I could 
never love him." 

Though my fealty to Lulie was unchanged, I could not 
help thinking what a splendid thing it would be to have the 
promise of such a love as hers. 

" But," continued mother, shaking the dew from a flower 
as she placed it with the others, "would you not marry him 
when you are grown, to get back so much wealth and riches. 
Remember, he has your father's will, making him the sole 
heir in case of your death, and he has also the affidavit of 
the captain of the vessel in which you sailed, that yourself 
and father were both lost, and could not possibly have been 
saved." 

" I would despise him," she said, scornfully, snapping a 
stem as she spoke, " if he tried to get anything wrongfully. 
But Col. Smith has all papa's papers with him, and Cousin 
Herrara is too noble, I know, to do anything mean or 
sordid 1" 

She brushed the rose leaves from her lap, and placed the 
bouquet she had arranged in the basket of a Parian marble 
porter on the mantel ; then coming back to mother, she 
kneeled down by her side, and laying her cheek sideways 
on mother's knee, with that peculiar winning way of her's, 
said softly : 

"I hope Col. Smith will be able to save me something 
to repay you all for your goodness to me, for I cannot stay 



SEA-GIFT. 155 

under your roof as a charity outcast, and it would kill me to 
leave you now, I have learned to love you so." 

" My dear child," said mother, laying her hand on her soft, 
dark hair, " the very idea of compensating us for the greatest 
pleasure of our lives 1 Colonel Smith has gone to Havana 
solely on your account. Thank heaven we have as much as 
we want, and you may feel that you have a daughter's place 
in our household, and will never, never be a burden. Who 
knows," she added, playfully patting her head and glancing 
toward my couch, "but what you may be a daughter, in- 
deed, to us one of these days." 

" Oh, Mrs. Smith," said Carlotta so earnestly, that I opened 
my eyes in time to see the scarlet tinge of her cheeks, " you 
do not know how you hurt me when you say that. 'Twould 
make me hate the very thought of your son, whom I now 
esteem so much, to think that I was taken into your family 
to please him ; that I was being raised to suit his fancy ; 
that my character was being moulded after his model of a 
woman ; that it was being constantly said of me, as I have 
heard it said : ' Mrs. Smith is training her up for her son.' 
Will I not shrink from his very presence when I feel that he 
looks upon me as his to love or not, just as he likes ?" 

"My dear child," said mother, looking surprised, "my 
words were almost without meaning. Forgive me, and I 
will endeavor to prevent any allusion, in this house at least, 
that may wound your feelings." 

I here turned over, and moving my arms about showed 
signs of waking. This put an end to the conversation. 
Mother coming to the couch found me with considerable 
fever, and becoming alarmed sent Reuben off after the doc- 
tor. In truth I did feel a little badly, though I had been so 
interested in the conversation that I had not thought of my 
feelings. My eyeballs were hot and red, and felt as if they 
were full of sand ; my breath burnt my nostrils as it came 
out, and my tongue was dry and coated. An hour of feverish 



156 SEA-GIFT. 

restlessness elapsed before we heard the doctor's horse plod- 
ding up the avenue in a slow jog-trot, the fastest speed 
known to the medical fraternity. The doctor himself was 
equally deliberate in tying him to the rack, crossing the 
stirrups over the back of the saddle with the utmost care, 
and finally marching up the steps as if he was a pali-bearer 
at a funeral. He laid his hat on the seat in the porch, put 
his gloves in the crown, and laid his riding switch across 
them, as if it was to guard them. He at length advanced 
into the house and met mother. 

" How d'ye do, madam ; a very warm day, madam," he 
said, shaking her hand with one of his, and rubbing the bald 
place on his head with the other, as if all the heat of the day 
had centred there. 

" It is very sultry indeed, sir," replied mother, as he re- 
leased her hand. " Reuben, hand a glass of water, or per- 
haps, sir, you would prefer wine?" 

" Much obliged, madam, but water will do. Best for this 
weather, madam." 

While the water was being brought he sat down near the 
door and waited patiently, without deigning to notice me, 
as if anything connected with his profession was farthest 
from his thoughts. 

"Who is sick, madam?" he inquired, when he had re- 
placed the empty goblet on Eeuben's waiter. 

" My son, sir," said mother, conducting him to my lounge. 
" I don't know that he is sick much, but he is feverish, and 
fever always frightens me." 

" And very properly, madam, for it is a sure sign that 
something is wrong in the system. Should always be taken 
in hand at once." 

He felt my pulse a long time, slipping his fingers up and 
down my wrist, as if he were playing the violin ; then felt 
my forehead, touching it as he would a loaf of bread, to see 
if it were warm, and bade me put out my tongue. He put 



S E A-GIF T 



157' 



on his specs and bent over it, as if he were looking for a 
splinter, requesting mother to stand just a little out of the 
light, madam, and rubbing it with the end of his little finger, 
took off his spectacles triumphantly, and turning to mother 
said : 

" There is no danger, madam ; very slight fever ; only a 
trifling disorder of the system. A good sized blue pill is all 
that I would recommend at present. If you have any blue 
mass in the house I will make it for you before I leave." 

The box of pil hydrarg was accordingly brought, aud a 
cup of flour, from which he soon produced a pellet the size 
of a robin's egg, which I was to swallow. There might be 
almost said to be only two medicines known to the physi- 
cians of eastern Carolina, so constantly are they required in 
their practice, and they are as certain to administer mercury 
or quinine as Dr. Sangrado, of Valladolid, was to let blood or 
give warm water. I certainly did not bless their mercurial 
predilections that morning, and saw the old doctor ride off 
with an earnest wish that he had a pill, as large as the con- 
ventional brick, to roll around his hat on his head. 

He had hardly gotten out of sight when mother came to 
the couch with the pill in the hollow of one hand and a glass 
of water in the other. 

" Here, son, try to swallow this. The doctor thinks it 
best that you should take it." 

I sat upon the side of the bed, asked for a bucket, in case 
of accidents, and took the pill in my hand. I found it soft, 
and sticky as putty, but with reckless desperation I laid it 
far back on my tongue, and took a great gulp of water. 
With a toss Of my head I made a tremendous swallow, but 
a wad of air, many times larger than my mouth, got before 
the water and barred its progress down. Most of it got into 
my windpipe ; the pill, with the flour coating washed off, and 
its nauseous taste revealed, rolled down against my front 
teeth and stuck there. Shades of Epicurus ! how I heaved ! 



158 SEA-GIFT. 

Tiearing it away from my teeth with my fingers I dashed it 
down, and vowed that no doctor's authority could ever com- 
pel me to the attempt again. 

Whether the very taste of the pill had a good effect or not, 
that evening I was much better, and next morning felt per- 
fectly well. 

As it was the Sabbath, I was anxious to go to church 
with mother, Frank and Nea, but mother feared for me to 
take the sultry ride, and so I was to stay at home. To my 
surprise Carlotta asked leave to stay at home also, though 
she removed the flattering unction I had laid to my heart, 
that she staid to be with me, by telling mother she wished 
to spend the morning in her room. After breakfast the car- 
riage came round, and mother, Ned and Frank, left for the 
church, which was a little country appointment, about four 
miles distant. 

As soon as they were gone Carlotta went to her room, 
and, taking a book, I went out doors and lay down on the 
grass, beneath a large cedar at one end of the house. 

There are four kinds of days in the year, coming one in 
each season, on which I feel an unaccountable, though not 
unpleasant melancholy. Days when I want to get far away 
to myself, and muse in undisturbed loneliness. Days when 
Memory, not Fancy, holds her court, and scenes and faces 
long forgotten spring up from her dusty sepulchres, and 
throng her shrine and ask for tears. Days that make a pri- 
son of the Present, a worthless bauble of the Future, and lift 
only to our heart's embrace the golden Past, gone from life 
forever ! Brighter than it ever really was, its pains forgot- 
ten, only its joys remembered ! Like a dead friend, it is 
dearer now than ever, and we weep because we cannot turn 
life's current back. 

One of these days comes in winter, when, after a cloudy 
morning and noon, the sun sets cold and clear ; when the 
wind with a hollow moan sweeps over the bare fields; when 



SEA-GIFT. 159 

the long lines of wild ducks, clearly defined against the red 
sky, wind their way up the bends of the river, along whose 
banks the naked trees stretch their arms like the masts and 
yards of weird ships ; when the blue birds, with their plain- 
tive notes, huddle in the clumps of withered leaves on the 
oaks in the grove, and the very cows, plodding homeward, 
low mournfully, as if in response to Nature's dreariness. 

Another day is in Autumn, when Nature, wrapping her- 
self in a hazy robe, seems to lift her hand and say, " Hush, 
do not break my slumber,'' as she dozes into dreaminess. 
The sun himself half closes his glaring eye, and looks upon 
the world with a drowsy smile, and the purple sky droops 
upon the horizon as if Atlas were weary of his load. When 
the zephyrs are asleep, and the leaves on the trees are wan 
for want of exercise ; when the crowing of the cock sounds 
like a yawn, and the little fly-catcher, perched, as is its cus- 
tom, on a dead and leafless limb, breathes its one little song 
as if it was its last sigh. Such a day as J3uchanan Read de- 
scribes in his " Closing Scene ;" the most exquisite verses 
ever penned by an American : 

" All sights seemed mellowed and all sounds subdued, 
The hills seemed farther, and the streams sang low, 
As iu a dream the distant woodman hewed 
His winter log, with many a muffled blow. 

" On slumbrous wings the vulture held his flight, 

The dove scarce heard its sighing mate's complaint; 
And like a star, slow drowning in the light, 

The village church vane seemed to pale and faint. 
* * * * * . * * 

"Alone from out the stubble piped the quail, 

And croaked the crow through all the dreary gloom ; 
Alone the pheasant, drumming in the vale, 
Made echo to the distant cottage loom." 

Another day for reverie is such a day as this — a summer 
Sabbath in the country. Sabbath is stamped on the entire 



160 SEA-GIFT. 

premises. The negroes, bedecked in all the finery of rib- 
bons and beads, have just trooped in long droves through 
the gate and gone to preaching. Down at the quarters 
there is one old negro sitting at the door of her cabin, with 
her head bowed down to her knees as she ties around it 
her broad yellow kerchief. Her slight motion as she does 
this, and the faint monotonous wail of an infant left in 
her care, are all the evidences of life in the long row of 
tenements. 

The horses and mules all walk solemnly about in the clo- 
ver lot, and the sheep graze under the trees in the orchard, 
without a bleat to disturb the serene quiet of the morning. 
Tiger, the great bull-dog, is lying stretched out at the door 
of his kennel, watching with his small bleared eyes a hen 
and brood that are scratching fearlessly almost in his jaws. 
A mocking bird, down at the old graveyard, is alone forget- 
ful of the day, and, perched upon the very topmost bough 
of the willow, is burdening the air with the joyous trills 
of his melody. 

Overhead the' great blue ocean of the sky is dotted here 
and there with fantastic white clouds, melting into various 
shapes as they grandly sail across its depths. 

Propping my head with my hand, I lay and gazed up at 
the sky and around at the beauty of the day, and gave my- 
self up to musing. Of course my mind turned to Lulie, and 
the terrible blight she had given my hopes, and, as the 
romance of my youthful mind intensified a thousand fold 
the nature of my disappointment, and my feelings were 
already made tender by the influences of the day, my heart 
could only find relief in tears, and turning my face over in 
the long cool grass I wept till I fell asleep. I had lain thus 
perhaps an hour, when a little bird, hopping in the branches 
overhead, rained down a shower of cedar balls upon me, and 
I raised up to find Carlo tta standing by me. She started as 
I looked up, and said, without any embarrassment : 



SEA-GIFT. 161 

" I came out to the porch a few moments since, and saw 
you lying so still I was afraid you might be sick. Is there 
anything I can do for you V 

" No, thanks for your kindness, I do not need anything 
at all," I replied, raising myself from the grass ; " but sit 
down here with me, I want to talk with you." 

She hesitated a moment, then sat down near me. 

" Day before yesterday, when you and mother were talk- 
ing together in the hall, you thought me asleep," I said, 
after a pause of some seconds — a pause that is always awk- 
ward when you are expected to say something, and do not 
know what to say — -"but I was not, and am now glad that 
I heard every word you both said." 

Her face burned for a second, then became paler than be- 
fore, as she exclaimed : 

" Oh ! why did you not speak, and stop my unkind and 
hasty words. Glad, did you say ? how could you be glad to 
know that I had purposely shunned your presence, and 
shrunk from your most casual approach ?" 

"I was glad, because I had found the key to your con- 
duct, and then knew why you had acted so coldly towards 
me, and refused so persistently the friendship I longed to 
offer. I was glad, because I knew then that the distance 
between us was not caused by enmity, but your sensitive 
nature." 

Looking at me pleadingly with her eloquent eyes, and 
with a tremor in her soft voice, she said : 

" Will you not appreciate my feelings, then, and forgive 
me?" 

" I do appreciate your feelings," I said, with warmth, " and, 
appreciating them, have nothing to forgive. I have been 
pained that you seemed to mistrust me ; that the love and 
devotion my brother's heart would fain have offered. was put 
aside, and that you wrapped yourself in such a robe of icy 
reserve ; but I understand it all now, and you may trust me 



162 SEA-GIFT. 

to use all my efforts to prevent the recurrence of any occa- 
sion that would cause you mortification or regret." 

" Thank you, my kind brother, for your consideration of 
my feelings," she returned, warmly; " but let me add a word 
before we leave the subject : My annoyance has not been 
caused by the fact that your name, as yours, was coupled 
with mine, but that the very kindness of your family in 
taking me under their roof, is made, in the estimation of 
others, an obligation that places me at your disposal ;" and 
the pride of her high-born soul burned in her glorious eyes, 
as she spoke. 

" Well, we understand each other now," I said, soothingly, 
" and let us make this agreement — that whenever we are 
unobserved we will be trustful and confiding, as brother and 
sister should be, but when occasion demands we will be 
reserved and distant, without offence." 

"I agree most cordially," she said, "and will henceforth 
place an implicit confidence in you as my truest friend." 

She motioned as if to go, but it was so pleasant — some- 
thing so new — to converse with her, to watch the play of 
her beautiful features, to catch the light of her great dark 
eyes, as she looked into my face as if to see my words, that 
I strove to detain her. 

"Do not leave me yet, Carlotta. My heart is very sad to- 
day. Will you let me unburden it to you ? It seems silly, 
I know, but I do so long to have some one to confide in ; 
some one I can trust as I can you." 

"You may trust me, John," she said, hesitating as she 
called my name for the first time. 

After a pause, I said, biting a blade of grass with my 
lips — 

" I had been weeping, Carlotta, when you came to me — 
weeping because the beautiful day made me sad." 

"You sad? you weeping? you, who are so full of life and 
gaiety !" she said, looking at me with surprise ; then adding, 



SEA-GIFT. 1G3 

in a tone of deep sadness, as she thought of herself, " alas 1 
what cause can you have for tears, in such a happy home, 
surrounded by those you hold most dear." 

"AVhat better cause for tears than disappointed love? 
Carlotta, I have loved Lulie since I could remember, and if 
ever one life can be bound in another mine has been in 
her's, and yet she does not love me. From her own lips I 
have learned this bitter truth. I could bear up had I 
one gleam of hope ; but all is dark, and far worse than the 
extinction of hope is the knowledge that she loves another. 
Oh, heaven ! how it grinds me to the earth to feel that he, 
who is most unworthy, should receive her smiles ; that a 
love I would give my life for is wasted on one who regards 
it as the trifle of a day." 

I paused and looked gloomily up at the bright blue sky, 
where a fleecy Delos floated. 

" I, too, think her love is wasted on Frank Paning," said 
Carlotta, as I looked again at her face. " He may admire 
her beauty, and no doubt feels flattered by her preference, 
but he does not love her as she thinks he does. It will be a 
sad day with her when she learns the truth." 

"Yes," I replied, savagely ; "she will then know what I 
feel." 

"Do not speak harshly of her, John, for while she loves 
Frank Paning, yet I believe she esteems you more." 

" But how can you speak for her feelings ?" I asked, with a 
faint touch of a sneer in my tone. 

" Because she has told me all," she replied coolly. 

" A perjured little " 

"Hush !" she exclaimed, looking at me reprovingly. "Do 
not judge her too hastily. She only told me part ; I inferred 
the rest. Her heart seemed as if it would break the night 
after you went fishing together, and, when I sought to know 
the cause of her grief, she would only say she had made you 
unhappy. Hers is a fond, true heart, and I only wish it 
were given away more worthily." 



164 SEA-GIFT. 

" But what do you know of Paning's sentiments ?" I asked 
with some surprise. "Perhaps he may be very devoted to 
her." 

" I have very good reasons for knowing," she said, with a 
peculiar smile ; " but yonder are some of the negroes return- 
ing from church. I must go in and have dinner arranged 
before the carriage returns." 

She went into the house and left me wondering what she 
could mean. Can she love him, too, I thought, and is it be- 
cause she herself has his heart that she knows Lulie has it 
not? 

I began to grow desperate with the thought of my rival's 
second conquest, when the sound of the carriage diverted 
my attention, and mother, Frank and Ned came into the 
house. 

" Oh, you needn't have dinner for us," said Frank to Car- 
lotta, as he drew a glass of ice-water for himself, and drank 
it. " We have already dined sumptuously." 

Mother nodded her head as Carlotta looked at her inquir- 
ingly. " Yes, my dear, we've had dinner. Mrs. Bemby in- 
vited us to her table, and of course we could not refuse." 

" How did you like the sermon, Ned, and what kind of 
people were there ?" I asked. " Tell me all about it." 

"The sermon was very good in its way," said Ned, " and 
the people somewhat amusing ; but you must get Frank to 
give you full details. I could not do the subject justice." 

I could do nothing else but ask Frank for the narration, 
though I was not particularly anxious to hear his voice. 

"Well," replied Frank, nothing loth to do the talking, 
"long before we got to the church we began to pass crowds 
of people who were walking thither ; the men dressed in 
long sack coats of homespun, with immensely loose pants 
and dusty, shoes, most of them carrying in their arms bare- 
legged, white-headed babies, who were employed in looking 
backwards over their fathers' shoulders, and mostly gnaw- 



SEA-GIFT. 165 

ing very large fat biscuits ; the women were arrayed in 
bright flowered calico robes, which they kicked up behind 
at every step. They all had stick tooth brushes in their 
mouths, and long-tailed fly bonnets, which they carried in 
their hands. Then we passed others who, a little better off, 
were riding in red painted wagons, drawn by rope-har- 
nessed mules, which trotted along so briskly, under the 
kindly influences of overgrown boys and hickory sticks, that 
the folks in the body were jolted from side to side of their 
split bottomed chairs. Then we overtook the cumbrous 
carriages of the well-to-do farmers, with heavy-headed, 
clumsy-footed horses, the low boots full of fodder, and large 
trunks full of dinner, strapped on behind. As many of these 
and other vehicles as we passed, yet when we got to the 
church we found the grove full of horses, buggies, carriages 
and wagons, and so many people out doors that I began to 
fear the preacher would have no congregation. 

"At the foot of every tree in sight was a group of men en- 
gaged in the solemn occupation of whittling twigs and spit- 
ting. When we got to the door of the church, which was a 
large barn-looking structure, we found it full, and with diffi- 
culty got seats near the door. Such a mixture of people I 
never saw before. Here a silk by the side of cotton check, 
a broadcloth coat touching a copperas striped one, and a 
silk hat resting in the window with one of wheat straw, 
bound with green ribbon. As I could see very little but the 
backs of the people's heads, I cannot tell much about the 
congregation, except that the men for the most part had 
very long and very dry hair, which they wore bushy, while 
the women had theirs plaited in two strings and crossed 
like wicker-basket handles. The girls wore straw hats trim- 
med with ribbons, whose colors were of the rainbow that we 
may imagine would appear on a cloudy day. The elderly 
'ladies wore bonnets that looked as if Noah's wife had made 
them for pastime while she was in the ark, and had fitted 



166 SEA-GIFT. 

them on the goat's head for the want of a better block. The 
preacher himself was queer looking, and had a monotonous 
drawling tone." (Here Frank got up in the floor to imitate 
his style.) "Ah ! my brethren and sistern-er, where are we 
to-day ? 'Ere we are in the narrer road." 

" Tut, tut, Frank," said mother, quickly, " that will never 
do. Jest about the people if you want to, but remember 
the sanctity of the pulpit." 

"But it does not matter, Mrs. Smith, if we have a little 
fun at their expense ; they don't belong to our church, and 
he wasn't preaching to us." 

"It makes no difference," said mother, rising to go down 
to the dining room ; " he was preaching the Gospel of Christ, 
and, however defective his sermon, we should not ridicule 
it." 

"I'll show some other time," said Frank, as mother left 
the room. " But where was I ? Oh, the preacher. Well, 
when the sermon was finished we all went out, and Mrs. 
Ben or Bern something soon found us, and insisted that we 
should eat with her. 

"All over the grove the white cloths were being spread 
like gigantic snow flakes, and almost as numerous. Scores of 
negroes and ladies were unpacking great boxes, containing 
biscuit, rolls, cakes, ham, fowls, pickles, apples and peaches, 
and everybody was asking everybody else to dine with them. 
There was a good sized crowd at Mrs. Bemby's table when 
we went up. They were not introduced, but they all made 
us room, and bowed confusedly. Mrs. Smith knew and 
spoke to several of them while we took our part out in 
staring. 

" Mrs. Bemby begged us to help ourselves, and every one 
acted on her kind suggestion with quite a zest. Country 
belles, pulling off their cotton gloves, alternated the bites at 
chicken and bread so rapidly and successfully that they were 
soon sucking the bones like candy, while the beaux cut sym- 



SEA-GIFT. 161 

metrical squares out of corn bread sandwiches, and played 
the flute on long ears of roasted corn, with unctuous smiles 
and impeded attempts at conversation with chewed words. 

Mr. and Mrs. B did not eat anything, but served the table, 

with cordial entreaties to all to spare not ; Mrs. B distri- 
buting the bread and sweetmeats with a lavish hand, and 

Mr. B cutting the meats — his mode of dealing with a ham 

being very unique as well as effective. Standing it up on one' 
end, and holding the hock in one hand, he sawed the knife 
across it like an Italian playing the fiddle, producing far more 
satisfactory results, however, than all the army of diminutive 
violinists Italy has sent forth. That great gawk of a Ben, 
instead of helping was perched on a wagon, idly kicking the 
wheels with his feet as he munched on an apple, and 
gravely winking at Ned and myself, in acknowledgment of 
acquaintance. Altogether the dinner was excellent, and, 
after our ride to the church, and our boredom in it, was 
particularly relished. There, I have talked enough ; get 
Ned to tell you the balance." 

. "There is no more to tell," said Ned, as mother called to 
us from the basement to come down and eat watermelons. 
"I can corroborate all that Frank has told, except his 
account of the sermon. That was very good, and much to 
the point, though it was plain and without ornament." 

I went down with the rest, but was afraid, for my fever's 
sake, to indulge in melons. If you would know whether it 
was any temptation to me or not, imagine a sultry after- 
noon, a cool breezy basement, four or five large melons, just 
from the ice house, like a row of victims with a knife in 
each pink frozen heart I 

I felt tired of hearing them talk and seeing them eat, so I 
took my hat and strolled down to Mr. Bemby's to find Ben, 
and enjoy a talk with him. He was nowhere in sight, and I 
tapped at the door. At Mrs. Bemby's " Come in !" I opened 
the door, and instead of Ben found three strange ladies, who 



1G3 SEA-GIFT. 

were discussing with profound interest the events of the 
day 

" Gome in, honey ; you look mighty feeble yet ; how do 
you feel to-day?" said Mrs. Bemby, kindly, as she met me. 
" This is Col. Smith's son, Mrs. Bailey and Miss Viney Dodge ; 
Col. Smith's son ! Mrs. Dodge," she shouted in the ear of the 
oldest and most withered of the three ladies, who was armed 
with an orchestra looking instrument in the shape of an im- 
mense ear trumpet. Mrs. Bemby had to put her mouth 
right down to the opening, and shout my name out twice 
before she and I became acquainted. I shook hands with 
the old and bowed to the young lady, who gave me a curtesy 
in return that shoved her chair back almost out of range of 
her reseating figure. Her figure was very stumpy ; her 
complexion very sallow ; her hair very sandy, and her skin 
very freckled. Her hands were covered with half fingered 
blue gloves, and were employed, one in lying in her lap, the 
fingers folded and the thumb stiffly erect, as a sentinel over 
their repose ; the other in holding, in as compressed a ball as 
possible, a dingy cotton handkerchief, which she constantly 
used, after a premonitory snuffle, by rubbing her nose very 
hard upwards, as if she wished to elevate its depressed 
point. 

Mrs. B informed me that Ben would be in shortly, and 

I took the chair she offered and looked at the visitors ; they 
looked at each other, and then there was a silence of some 
seconds. 

"You beedn sorter poorly, haidn't you?" said Mrs. Dodge, 
adjusting her trumpet and leaning towards me. 

"Yes, ma'am !" I shouted, making my reply more affirm- 
ative by a number of up and down motions of my head. 

" Umphum ! Haidn't had the summer complaint, is you ? 
You look a -little thidn." 

I transversed the motion of my head very rapidly, and 
signed the negative many times. 



SEA-GIFT. 169 

"A leetle lodomy, drapped in ellum bark tea's mighty good 
for it;" and the old lady, satisfied with her catechism, turned 
her trumpet and her interrogative features toward the 
others. 

Mrs. Bemby remarked having seen mother and the others 
at church that morning. Mrs. Bailey then took up the thread 
of the discourse where I had broken it off by entering. 

"As I was a saying, sister Bemby," she resumed, it does 
me a sight of good to listen to Brother Weekly's preaching. 
He is so searchin' to the sinners and comfortin' to the saints. 
His sermins are well pinted, too, and not writ, neither. I 
jist know in my soul, d'liver me from a writ sermin." 

" Umph ?" said Mrs. Dodge, in a prolonged note of inquiry, 
levelling her dread instrument on the speaker. Mrs. Bailey 
very kindly screamed the words into her ear. 

"Ah, yes, I knowed 'twas good this mordn-ing, tho' I 
couldn't hear, for I sorter felt it. Brother Weekly is always 
powerful in his lastly, and whedn I see old Udncle Jacob 
Sawney slap Sister Brewer in the back, and old Miss Park- 
idns twiss her cheer roudn to the wall, and git my Viney 
here to untie her specks, so she could rub her eyes, I knowed 
he was a having great freedobm ; and thedn he got a leetle 
louder, and I thought I heerd him say : ' He'll meet us at the 
gate, Hisself ;' and somethidng told me in my heart he 
meadnt the Lord, and I wadnted to go just thedn, for 'pears 
to me I'd be more welcome like ef He told me to come in." 

" Yes," resumed Mrs. Bailey, without noticing her interrup- 
tion ; "and did you notice, Sister Bemby, how he brought it 
out about the tares and the wheat. Seems to me, if I was 
a sinner I couldn't bear the thought of being sifted out and 
throwed away like a no 'count cockle grain." 

" That was uncommon clear, Sister Bailey," returned Mrs. 
Bemby, " about putting in the sickle and reaping all together, 
then sortin'out the good and bad." 

" That it was, Sister Bemby," agreed Mrs. Bailey, making 



170 SEA-GIFT. 

a spade out of her tooth brush, and spading up half an ounce 
of snuff into her mouth. 

There was another pause, and I looked uneasily out of the 
window, to see if I could discover anything of Ben, while 
Miss Viney rubbed her nose up again, and shot invisible 
marbles with the idle thumb in her lap. 

Deaf old Mrs. Dodge again spoke : 

"It's a mighty cobmfort, Sister Bemby, to have odne's 
chilldn a growin' up right. There's my Viney, she's been a 
perfesser nigh upodn five year, and haidn't backslid yit. 
Why dodn't you talk to Ben, Sister Bemby ? He's a clever 
'nough boy, but he's so mischeevous. Seduce I lost my 
hearidn I look 'round some in church, and no longer'n this 
mordning I see Ben holding up a streaked lizzard by the 
tail, fixing to put him on old Miss Judy Yates, who's the 
feardest of 'em in the world. Brother Bemby seed him jist 
in time to stop him." 

" I know it, Sister Dodge," shouted Mrs. Bemby in the 
trumpet's mouth, "and I have talked to him a heap of times, 
but Ben says he ain't a going to die soon, and that he'll be 
a preacher yet, and he makes me laugh so I have to let him 
alone." 

" Is you a lover of the Lord, sir ?" Mrs. Dodge inquired, 
pointedly addressing me. 

" I am afraid not as I ought to be," I said, confusedly, 
shaking my head. 

" Well, you ought to love Him with all your heart whedn 
you think what He's dodne fur you." 

I bowed an acknowledgment of the truth of her remark, 
and told Mrs. Bemby I would go out and look for Ben. 

Not finding him anywhere I turned homeward, thinking 
on the glorious Gospel of the Son of God — a Gospel that, 
with the same words, can comfort sister Bailey's simple 
heart, and bind up one bruised beneath a velvet robe — a 
Gospel for all the world ! deep enough to baffle the sage — 



SEA-GIFT. 171 

simple enough to save a child. God alone can be its 
Author ! 

Go to the rustic church, with its rude unpainted seats, its 
plain deal pulpit, with a pitcher of water and a cloth 
covered Bible on the unvarnished slab. Sit with the simple, 
illiterate congregation, and listen to the unpolished man in 
the pulpit as, with an effort, he slowly reads his text: "For 
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have 
eternal life." 

Hear the story of the Cross told without rhetoric, and 
mark the faces around you, how they glow with faith and 
shine with tears. 

Then let us stand on the broad stone steps beneath the 
clanging chimes and gilded spire. See the white-gloved 
drivers curb the prancing steeds — the liveried footmen hold 
the blazoned door, while silken trains sweep down the car- 
riage step and rustle up the aisle. Let us go in and stand 
in the purpled gloom of the soft stained light. The golden 
legend over the chancel is illegible in the darkness, and only 
the bright figures on the windows up in the vaulted roof 
show that the glorious sunlight is over the earth. The 
tufted aisles make no echo to the footsteps, and the only 
sound is the occasional closing of a pew door by the silent 
ushers. The cushioned seats are filled, the gas jets around 
the preacher's stand are lit, and all is so hushed we almost 
expect the sermon to be whispered, when, with a trembling 
sob, as if its very pipes were sinful, the organ's wail of 
penitence is heard. Moaning and groaning at the very 
bottom of its voice, it grows louder and higher, till its weird 
minor strains peal through the church, as if its windy heart 
will burst, and still higher and higher it screams and shrieks, 
in its agony of remorse, then, with a galop down the scale, 
it breaks out into a lively polka of forgiveness, and is as 
happy as an organ can be, till its jig-and-break-down reper- 



1T2 SEA-GIFT. 

toire is exhausted, when it stands on one leg of a note 
and waits for the singing. A low, soft trill, like a mock- 
ing bird's song at night, breaks forth from we know not 
where, and its quivering melody fills the vast edifice ; but 
ere we have discovered its source or meaning it is joined 
by another sound — a high zooning tone — like a bee far 
up in the air. This follows the first through all its won- 
derful manoeuvres, and a faint conception begins to dawn 
on us that perhaps a song is intended. This idea is en- 
tertained for a few seconds, when it is forever put to 
flight by the sudden, sonorous bellowing of a bull over its 
slaughtered kindred, and while its terrible tones are thun- 
dering from the floor to the roof, we find that it, too, is 
following the others, and adding its powerful roar to their 
melody. But surprises are not over yet, for just as the 
three get fairly under way, they are quickly joined by a 
bronhial cat, unusually hoarse, that also takes after the 
others, though on a lower key and in strange fuzzy tones. 
This zoological vocale is persevered in by the four till, 
at last, they approximate a tune. We have some light 
thrown on the subject from the remark of a gentleman 
with an eye-glass to a lady with diamonds sitting just in 
front of us : 

" Trilla's soprano is better to-day in Te Deum than 'twas 
last evening in Trovatore, but Catta's contralto is horrid." 
" Taurini's bass is magnificent, though, isn't it ?" the young 
fop adds in a whisper, as, with a long orchestral flourish, 
the organ ceases to play and the services commence. Wor- 
shipping God by proxy ! Because Taurini has a richer, 
better voice, and can say " We praise Thee, oh ! God " in a 
deeper tone than we, we pay him to say it in our most holy 
place, careless whether an oath were last on his lips, or an 
early bar-room his only preparation for the Sabbath. But all" 
is so different from the little wooden church, that we almost 
feel that they are serving another God with a different reli- 






SEA-GIFT. 173 

gion. We feel out of place and disappointed, and are about 
to leave, when the preacher ascends the pulpit and an- 
nounces his text : 

" For God so loved the world that He gave His only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not 
perish but have eternal life." 

We are at home now ; the same verse that has brought 
tears from the simple minded, carries conviction to the 
heart of the rich and the wise. Though the service in 
its appointments may be fanciful — though the sermon 
be burdened with rhetorical roses, or ridiculous in Tustic 
exposition, or flagrant misconstruction — Christ's words 
stand forth with the same grandeur of simplicity and force 
as they did when the trembling, conscience-convicted San- 
hedrimite sought Him in the darkness, and received the light 
of God. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

The first of October found us all again in Wilmington. 
Father returned from Havana the latter part of September, 
having completed all the necessary arrangements in refer- 
ence to Carlotta's property. He found the agent reliable, 
and having proved the death and identity of Mr. Rurleston, 
he administered on the estate, and qualified as guardian for 
Carlotta under the Spanish law. 

Ned and I began tKe winter in hard study, as our last 
session in a preparatory school. Frank, however, declared 
his intention of going to Chapel Hill, the seat of the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina, in January, and joining the Freshman 
Class, half advanced, getting the advantage of a year's start 
by the half session. 

Sure enough, in January he left for the Hill, and we soon 



1*14 SEA-GIFT. 

received letters from him telling of, the wonderful charms of 
college life, and of the rapid progress he was making in his 
studies. 

The spring passed and Frank came home a Sophomore. 
Ned and T felt quite tame before him, though his foppish 
ways and overbearing air only added to the dislike I enter- 
tained for him. 

Lulie, poor thing, was as proud of him as if he had been 
her son, and whenever we met was continually quoting what 
Frank said, and telling what Frank did. In the kindness of 
her dear little heart she ever tried to consider my feelings, 
and it was the inadvertence of these remarks in my pres- 
ence that made them doubly painful. 

Between Carlotta and myself there had sprung up a 
strong, confidential friendship. She was so beautiful in 
person and character, so pure, so trusting, that had it not 
have been for our daily intimacy, I could have loved her 
even to the effacing of Lulie's image. As it was, she was 
only my best friend, and Lulie my hopeless idol. 

A trip to Smithville closed our vacation, and we began to 
get ready for college. All the arrangements were made, 
and the day before our departure came round. Ned, who, 
of course, was to be my chum, had come into town with 
his baggage, and was to stay all night with me, to be ready 
for the early morning train. That night, after tea, he ran 
over to Br. Mayland's to tell Lulie good-bye, and Carlotta 
and I took our seat on the stoop. Neither of us spoke for 
some time, for I felt really sad now that the time had come 
for parting. 

" You will write to me while I am gone, Carlotta ?" I said, 
at length. " I will enjoy a letter from you more than from 
any one else I know." 

" Yes," she said, smiling. " I will write if you will pro- 
mise to reply faithfully, and not to make fun of my letters." 

" That would be impossible, even if I were not too anx- 



SEA-GIFT. 175 

ious to hear from home and from you. I will miss your 
bright face and sunny smiles sadly while I am away," I 
continued, looking up at the stars slowly coming out, " for 
no matter where I am, or whom I am with, I never feel so 
well satisfied and happy as when I am with you." 

"It is I, indeed, who will miss you," she said, with the 
least possible sigh, "for you have been so kind and atten- 
tive, so considerate of all my wishes, yet so unobtrusive in 
your attentions, that I can never get another to fill your 
place." 

"You will not forget me, then?" I said, drawing a little 
nearer to her. 

" Never I" 

She looked so beautiful in the soft twilight, as she gazed 
at me earnestly and said this " Never 1" that I did more 
than I intended — I took her hand and pressed it in mine, 
though I tried to do it in a brotherly way. But there was 
a thrill in her touch, nevertheless. I could see her face flush, 
even in the twilight, as she drew her hand once or twice, as 
if she would take it away. 

"Carlotta,"I said, still holding her hand, "I have told 
you how I once loved Lulie " 

" And there she is now," she said, quickly withdrawing 
her hand, then putting it back in mine, as if it was nothing 
to be ashamed of. 

Sure enough, Lulie, Frank and Ned crossed over from Dr. 
Mayland's and approached our stoop. 

" John, I have come over to say good-bye, as you would 
not come to see me," said Lulie, seating herself at Carlotta's 
feet. 

"'Twas because I thought you would, of course, be en- 
gaged for to-night, not because I did not want to," I replied, 
in a tone divided between a sneer and a smile. 

" You know I am always glad to see you, John," she said, 
rising again to her feet ; " but we have not long to stay, 



116 ' SEA-GIFT. 

Frank, and had better go now, as he is so ungracious, even 
on the eve of parting." 

" Pardon me, Lulie," I said, her words recalling me to a 
sense of propriety. " Do not let us part in bad humor." 

"Certainly not," she replied; "but," changing the subject, 
" do you not dread the ordeal of initiation ? Prank says, 
though, he will not let the fellows, as he calls them, trouble 
you much." 

"We are obliged to Frank for his kind intentions, but 
hope to be able to take care of ourselves," I replied, my un- 
gracious feelings returning reinforced. 

" I've a great notion to let you fellows alone, and let our 
class have its own way with you," said Frank, tapping the 
railing with a little gold headed switch he called a cane. 

I had it on my tongue to tell him that I wished he would, 
but I restrained myself, and only said that I hoped we could 
stand it. 

Lulie gave me her hand most cordially, and bade us both 
farewell, and she and' Frank walked away — she looking up 
at him and talking to him as if her life was his, and he 
walking on as if only a toy hung upon his arm. 

Father returned from down town, and, requesting my 
presence in the library, I left Ned with Carlotta and went 
in the house. Father was seated at his escritoire and mo- 
tioned me to a chair near him. " As you leave very early 
in the morning," he said, through his teeth, holding between 
them one end of a tape he was tying around a bundle of 
papers he had assorted, " I thought we had best arrange 
our money matters to-night." 

He took a roll of bank bills from a drawer, and, counting 
out a goodly heap, pushed it towards me, saying, " That 
will be enough for all your expenses till late in the session. 
Whenever you liud you need more, write and I will remit. 
I do not want you to be extravagant, my son, neither do I 
want you to be a niggard; I will, however, trust to your 
own good sense to regulate your expenditure." 



, SEA-GIFT. 177 

I folded the money up, and, putting it in my purse, was 
about to leave, when he closed the desk, and, jingling the 
keys into his pockets, said : 

"Sit down a moment, John, I want to say a few words to 
you in reference to your conduct while you are away. I 
am sure your mother has instructed you thoroughly in your 
Christian duty, and, therefore, I do not fear that I shall ever 
be mortified by a letter confessing debauch and dissipation. 
I trust that your early training, with your own sense of pro- 
priety, will deter you from anything so ruinous ; but I have 
a word or two of advice in regard to your deportment to- 
wards your fellow students and to your instructors. I have 
been at college myself and know something of what I say. 
You will, of course, be teased, or ' devilled,' as they term it, 
unmercifully. Every conceivable effort will be made to 
mortify you, and to present you in most ridiculous attitudes, 
and every one in the class above you will try his wits at 
your expense. You will be made the victim of many a 
practical joke, and will suffer frequent inconvenience from 
the temporary abstraction of your books or the derangement 
of your furniture. Bear every thing with quiet dignity, do 
not attempt to reply to anything that is said, and, if pos- 
sible, keep from showing in the slightest way that you are 
teased. If their efforts are without success they will soon 
desist, and you will be unmolested. It is a most contempti- 
ble and barbarous practice, this striving to wound and crush 
the feelings of another, simply because he is a stranger, as if 
that fact alone did not entitle him to more consideration. I 
hope, John, that when you join this privileged class of per- 
secutors you will never indulge in anything so unfeeling. 

" To recommend care in the selection of your associates is 
a piece of advice as important as it is trite. Associates will 
be forced upon you by the location of your room, by your 
class and your boarding house. Look well to a student's 
moral and social status before you take him as a companion. 

8* 



178 SEA-GIFT. # 

Do not feel flattered into any concessions of your principles 
by an intimacy with a member of a higher class. While a 
Fresh, you would feel quite honored by an invitation to the 
room of a Senior, and you would find it very hard to refuse 
a drink with him, lest you should appear squeamish in his 
eyes. But remember that advancement is only a question 
of time and study, and possess independence enough to 
refuse all solicitations to evil, however flattering to your 
vanity they be.. Ned, I am glad to learn, will room with 
you, and he and your books will be society enough for you, 
if you study as you now think, and i" hope you will. 

" In regard to your deportment towards your tutors I have 
a word to say, and then I have done my rather tedious 
exhortation. Be polite and dignified in their presence, be 
attentive in the lecture room, but not ostentatiously so, 
making a pretence of continually gazing at the professor, 
being the first to answer fly questions, or selecting a seat 
very near his desk, as there is nothing more displeasing to 
him than the endeavor of a student to make up for lack of 
merit by sycophantic fawning. While it is well to establish 
a personal acquaintance and good understanding with all 
those under whose instruction you are placed, yet do not 
make a display of intimacy with them, as the reputation ot 
a ' boot-lick ' is easily earned, and is exceedingly odious. 
The most disagreeable temptation to which you will be ex- 
posed is to join rebellion against college authority. You 
will be continually solicited to aid in schemes to break the 
laws of the institution, to annoy the professors, and to deface 
and misplace college property. Every conceivable plan for 
the defeat of the very objects of the institution will be set 
on foot, and you will be scoffed at and ridiculed if you refuse 
to join. Will you have the moral courage to refuse in the 
face of a jeering class ? I hope so, my son. You will find 
it easy after the first time or two, and you will be respected 
all the more for your firmness. Write to your mother and 



SEA-GIFT. 119 

myself often, and write freely. Tell us of your trials and 
difficulties, and express all your feelings without hesitation. 
But, lest my much advice may seem to evince a "doubt 
of your strength of character, I will cease. Let's go to 
Carlotta and Ned." 

He lowered the gas, and as we walked out of the library 
laid his arm on my shoulder in a tender way, that I have 
never forgotten — for a caress was a novelty from him. 

That, night, as Ned and I were about to go up to our 
rooms, I kissed mother good night, and said to her : 

"Have you no parting advice for me, mother ? I believe 
everybody has had some kind of valedictory for me." 

She drew me to her and said, smiling, as she parted my 
hair with one hand : 

"I have nothing special to say, John, even though you 
are going away from me for the first time. I have endea- 
vored from your infancy to instruct you in your duty to 
your fellow man, as well as to God. It now only remains 
with you to perform that duty. The one great thing I have 
always striven to impress upon your mind is to act from 
principle. Whatever you propose to do, consider carefully 
whether it be in itself right — not whether the time or occa- 
sion renders it so. I have placed your Bible in your trunk ; 
read it without fail once every day, and, as you have always 
done, seek counsel of Heaven ; and if my poor prayers will 
avail anything, you will ever be fortified with grace and 
courage from on high." 

In my room, as I undressed, I could not help looking 
around at the familiar articles of furniture, in order to re- 
member exactly how the room looked after I was gone. 
Everything had a farewell for me. 

The very bureau seemed to sigh as I took my toilet artii 
cles from its slab ; and the chairs, with their worn rounds 
and knife-notched backs, seemed to creak an humble orood- 
bye ; the rug that I had scorched so often making squibs ; 



180 SKA-GIFT. 

the pitcher, whose lip I had broken by jerking it against a 
table, when a eat with a fit, on whose head I was pouring 
water, suddenly revived and sprang up under my hand; the 
book-case, through whose glass doors peeped the familiar 
faces of Swiss Family Robinson, Sandford and Mertoh, Tom 
Brown at Rugby, and the portentous covers of Latin Gram- 
mar, Greek Reader, Csesar, Virgil and Sallust ; the closet, 
with my gun and sporting furniture, and the bed, with it3 
flowered coverlid, all looked as if they would be sad after I 
was gone, and as I went to sleep I felt prematurely home- 
sick. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



Father awoke us by coming into our room with the lamp 
and telling us that Horace was waiting with the carriage. 
We were up and dressed by the time William had carried 
down our trunks. We went down to the dining room, where 
the gas was burning with the sleepy glare it always has in 
the morning, as if it had just waked from a sound nap. I 
felt no appetite, but gulped down an egg, a bit of steak and 
some coffee, as if it were medicine. Horace sent in word 
that we had best hurry, as he had heard the engine blow for 
backing down some time ago. I slipped on my linen duster, 
pulled on one glove, told the servants good-bye with half a 
dollar each, pressed father's hand, received mother's fond 
embrace and fervent "God bless you, my child," and touched 
Carlotta's lips with a thrill the hurry could not damp, and 
Ned and I were rattling over the pavement to the depot. 
As soon as my eyes recovered from the glare of the gaslight 
I found that day had dawned and objects were plainly visi- 
ble. The dwelling houses were all closed, except where an 
extra smart housemaid here and there had opened the shut- 



SEA-GIFT. 181 

ters, and was sweeping off the steps. Nobody was astir in 
the streets yet except one or two butchers' carts, rattling on 
to the mai'ket house with their loads of beef. We rolled 
on down through the business part of the city, where sleepy 
porters, in their shirt sleeves, were taking down shutters 
and sprinkling and sweeping out the stores ; on past the 
newspaper offices, where they were still working by gaslight, 
and where little newsboys were coming out with bundles of 
damp papers ; on down Market street, past drowsy drays, 
with lazy negro drivers slapping the fat, sluggish horses 
with the ends of the reins ; on, till we whirled round the 
corner at the river, where the chilly morning breeze was 
rippling the water and clicking the wavelets against the 
sides of the vessels and rafts that lay on the gray river, 
without other signs of life than a sailor leaning over the 
railing, dipping up water with his bucket and rope, or a 
negro cooking his breakfast at the door of his raft's cabin. 
The rigging, wet with mist, stretched like immense spider 
webs from yard to yard, and the jack, left out all night, 
drooped straight down the mast. How familiar is every log 
and piece of timber in the wharf ! Every barrel and hogs 
head is an acquaintance, and every spot we pass the scene 
of some boyish frolic. Everybody that sees us bows and 
says good-bye, and we almost feel sure that the town will 
pass resolutions of regret at our departure. 

We reach the train just in time, and find Frank already 
on board, with seats reserved for us. He is pleasant towards 
me, and seems to bear no ill feeling for my rudeness. Being 
a good talker, he enlivened the tedium of travel with ac- 
counts of college life, and gave us many valuable points in 
regard to our demeanor, instructing us how to " dodge 
devilling," and offering his assistance with as much conceit 
as kindness. 

When we reached Raleigh, there was a delay of some 
minutes, and the train was soon crowded in the aisles with 



182 SEA-GIFT. 

those getting out and those coming in. As we sat watching 
them Frank suddenly exclaimed, "Yonder's Carrover and 
Brazon, as I am a sinner !" and I saw two young men loung- 
ing up the aisle from the rear door. One of them filled my 
idea of what a senior ought to be. His beaver was tipped 
just a little on one side of a head covered with a profusion 
of rich brown curls, his face handsome, though pale, and 
ornamented with a dainty moustache and goatee ; his form 
tall and graceful, and his dress very elegant but not foppish. 
He also carried a gold headed cane, larger and heavier than 
Frank's. His companion impressed me very disagreeably. 
He was short and thick of stature, with a bold, red face, 
staring pale blue eyes and a carrotty frizz of hair. He was 
dressed in very flashy style, and his linen was frowzy and 
rumpled. He greeted Frank with boisterous cordiality, and 
took the seat immediately behind us. The tall and elegant 
young man, I thought, greeted Frank very coolly, as if there 
was not much intimacy between them. He took a seat 
some distance off, and taking the British Quarterly Review 
from his travelling bag, was soon buried in its pages. 

Brazon, as soon as there was a pause in Frank's conversa- 
tion, leaned over and asked us politely how far up the road 
we were going. 

" Only to Durham's station," I replied, feeling compli- 
mented by his notice. 

"Then you are going to Chapel Hill?" 

"Yes," I said, turning in my seat, so as to look at him; 
"you have been at college there, have you not?" 

" Oh, yes," he replied, his pale eyes twinkling maliciously. 
"May I ask what class you intend to join ?" 

"The Fresh, I suppose, unless the professors -" but 

before I could finish the sentence he shouted in a loud tone : 
"Hello ! Frank 1 here are a couple of Fresh, regular green 
ones, too. That's right," he said, addressing us, and patting 
me on the shoulder, " sit together on the same bench, like 



SEA-GIFT. 183 

good little boys. Did mamma and papa tie you together, 
for fear you'd get lost ? That's clever, my children, do as 
your pairients tell you and the devil will give you candy 
some day." 

I was so taken by surprise at the sudden change in his 
tone from the polite to the jeering, that I sat with a burning 
face under his ridicule, while the car was shaking with the 
laughter of the passengers at our discomfiture, and never 
thought of resenting it. Frank, however, who had gone to 
the other end of the car to get some water, returned and 
saw the position of affairs. He caught Brazon by the arm, 
exclaiming : 

" What the devil are you doing, Brazon ? These gentle- 
men are particular friends of mine. You must have for- 
gotten yourself." 

" No I didn't, either. How could I know they were your 
friends when you said nothing about them ? But since they 
are, I beg pardon. Introduce me and we will shake hands 
round and be friends." 

It was with some hesitation I took his proffered hand ; 
but I felt that it were best to make no enemies on my first 
entrance into college. 

We all talked pleasantly together during the few minutes 
it took the train to reach Durham's, and, getting off there, 
found a number of hacks waiting to convey us to the Hill. 
There were many others going there, so we hastened to 
secure the best hack, and were soon jogging over that worst 
of roads. Carrover secured a seat in another vehicle, but 
gave it up to a lady and child, and took a place with us. 

We stopped only once to cool out the horses, under some 
large trees by a well, when Carrover. opened his travelling 
case, and taking out a silver flask offered it first to Ned and 
myself. We both declined, but I found that, in this my first 
temptation, it was difficult to refuse, so afraid was I of 
seeming boyish. The other three all complimented its con- 



184 SEA-GIFT. 

tents by a plentiful inhibition, as the driver checked up his 
horses' heads and we resumed our journey. 

When we reined up at the hotel we found the steps 
thronged with the Sophs, waiting for the hacks to bring in 
their victims. As soon as we got out we were surrounded 
by a score of them, all leering in our faces and yelling 
" Fresh ! Fresh !" as if they had the article to sell. 

With most impudent effrontery they gathered around us, 
each vieing with the others in casting ridicule upon us ; 
nor were witty sallies alone the extent of their teasing ; 
many of the coarsest personalities were indulged in. No 
one seemed to enjoy it much, and only an absurd sense of 
what was due a foolish college custom urged them on. 

"Look what a big trunk," said one, striking my solitary 
piece of baggage with his cane hard enough to nearly blister 
the leather ; " I'll bet he has homespun cake in there. Fresh, 
let me sleep with you," he continued, taking my arm, with 
every appearance of friendship, "but no, you are too dirty," 
releasing me with a gesture of disgust. 

" Hoopee 1 what a foot !" said another, stooping down to 
take an exaggerated measurement of my foot. " Fresh, how 
do you get your boots on without a crane to lift your feet?" 

"Well, Fresh," said a pert little fellow to Ned, "what is 
the price of tallow where you live ? It ought to be very 
cheap if that is a sample in your face." As Ned was really 
very sallow this remark called forth a general laugh, during ' 
which we walked up the steps into the office, the crowd 
opening before and closing behind us in a continuous yell 
of ridicule and shame, heaped on us in every conceivable 
way. 

Frank's friends all seemed glad to see him, but, even amid 
the storm of persecution that surrounded us, I could not 
help noticing that they all wore flash clothes, and had in- 
flamed eyes and a profane swagger. Frank told us that it 
was out of his power to shield us from devilment in such a 



SKA-GIFT. 185 

crowd, but that he would get us rooms for the night and 
we would be safe in them. He went in to see the proprietor 
and we were left standing in the midst of a deriding throng. 
1 never felt so much like a culprit in my life. Nowhere 
could I look and find a single glance of sympathy. On 
every side were hoots, hisses and vulgar witticisms ; and 
the attempt to utter a word was only the signal for such a 
roar as would drown every syllable. While standing thus, 
a tall, languid youth, with drooping side whiskers and a pair 
of gold eye-glasses, pushed his way through the crowd and 
asked, " What Fresh are these you have here ? Introduce 
me." Some one shouted : " That is Mr. Danvers, Fresh ; 
speak to him." 

" How do you do, gentlemen ? I am most happy to see 
you with us," said Danvers, offering his hand in the most 
cordial manner. Eager to touch somebody's hand that 
would sympathize, I extended mine gladly, but ere I 
touched his he drew it back with the sneer, "Oh, no, Fresh, 
you must wash yours first ; you've been travelling, you 
know." 

" Shame ! shame ! Danvers. A Junior devilling Fresh !" 
exclaimed several voices. 

" I confess," said Danvers, turning off, laughing ; " but it 
was such a good thing. They are greener than verdure 
itself, and will swallow anything you offer !" 

Frank now came to us and said he had secured rooms, 
and that we could go up now if we wished. Of course we 
wished to do so, and once in, and the door locked, we gave 
vent to our feelings in no measured terms, both feeling as- 
sured that neither Huguenots nor Waldenses ever felt the 
bitterness of persecution as we did, and both wishing at 
heart that we were again at home. 

We had scarcely bathed and gotten rid of the dust of 
travel when the gong sounded for supper. We went down 
and found the tables occupied entirely by the students, as 



186 SEA-GIFT. 

there was little or no travel to such a retired village, from 
the outside world. A bevy of Sophomores rose on our ap- 
pearance and escorted us to the table, and, drawing back 
our chairs, held them for us. Bewildered by their strange 
attentions, we attempted to seat ourselves, but, of course, 
found the chairs non sub nobis. I recovered myself, but Ned 
plumped heavily down upon the floor, to the boisterous 
merriment of the whole room. 

At last seated, and served by the regular attendants, we 
attempted to eat, but every mouthful was declared enor- 
mous by those watching us, every action said to be ill 
mannered, and our whole demeanor so criticised that our 
appetites departed and we felt no desire for food. If we had, 
there would have been little opportunity for its gratifica- 
tion. If I chanced to turn my head, a teaspoonful of salt 
went into my tea. If I asked the waiter for a biscuit, my 
tormentor across the table would pour a dozen into my 
plate. Silver forks and napkin rings were dropped into 
my pockets, and the proprietor called to identify his prop- 
erty. When wc rose we were escorted from the room by 
the same guard of honor, even to the door of our room, where 
they left us for the night. 

Ned and I sat down on the side of our beds and looked 
out of the windows at the red evening sky, fast paling into 
twilight, and we felt dreary and lonely indeed. Frank was 
off with some of his friends, and we were afraid to venture 
out lest a renewal of purgatorial tortures should assail us. 
After awhile we could hear the noisy throng down stairs 
going away in twos and threes for their evening stroll, and, 
discovering from the window that they had all departed, I 
proposed to Ned that, as it *was fast growing dark, we slip 
down stairs and take a stroll, as it was too sultry to remain 
in our room. As we came out into the hotel porch a lazy 
Senior, who was sitting with his feet on the railing, quietly 
smoking, with the enviable tranquillity of might, said to us — 



SEA-GIFT. 187 

"All, Fresh," as we went down the steps, "don't let the 
Sophs find you before you get back. Whenever you sec a 
party of more than two approaching, cross over, for only 
the Sophs go in numbers." 

We thanked him, and walked up the street to the very 
road by which we had come in. We turned into this, and 
walked on till we came to a small eminence overlooking a 
little landscape, and on this knoll we sat down to gaze 
on the scene and to condole with each other in our troubles. 

The woods and plains below were bathed in the glo- 
rious light of the full orbed moon, which had risen, like a 
goddess of serenity, from the horizon. White night clouds 
floated lightly across her face, shaking off flakes of fleece 
into the blue sea around them. 

"Ned," I said at length, "I look on the moon now as an 
old friend. It is the only familiar thing I can see, and I feel 
a positive affection for it." 

" So do I," he replied, " and it seems doubly dear when I 
remember that, while it is beaming so placidly on us, it is 
also looking down upon the dear ones at home, and that, 
while we are so far apart, yet we can both gaze up at the 
same object, and imagine it a great mirror, in which each 
of us can see the others." 

"Ah ! ' home, sweet home V I never knew the depth of 
meaning in the words before. I wonder what they all are 
doing there now. Would you not give a great deal just to 
drop in among them for a minute or two ?" 

" I would, indeed ; but yonder come some of our tor- 
mentors. I think we had better turn back and meet them." 

A half dozen or more students were approaching, laugh- 
ing and talking loudly ; and, judging from their tones and 
appearance that they were Sophs, we thought the best we 
could do would be to pass them, if possible, on the shaded 
side of the road, and, by an unconcerned air, to go by un- 
noticed. We had not got opposite before they detected us, 



188 SEA-GIFT. 

and, with a shout of " Fresh ! Fresh I" surrounded us. 
Every form of insult capable of conveyance by language 
was heaped upon us, yet so rapid and constant the stream 
that no one in particular could be selected on whom to re- 
sent it. 

They turned back with us and impeded our progress by 
every conceivable means, thrusting their faces in front of 
ours, so that to advance would be to touch theirs ; standing 
in front of us, so that we were compelled to go around them, 
and yelling with all their vociferous might into our ears 
the traditional Fresh song or chant, whose diabolical bur- 
den is the harsh and brutish bellowing (with a leader and 
a chorus) of these syllables : " Toot, toot, toot-tat-toot. 
Baa-a-h !" We had returned nearly to the hotel in this 
undigni6ed manner, the throng of persecutors gathering 
strength as we entered the streets, till we were completely 
surrounded — those in front walking backwards, and stop- 
ping every now and then suddenly, that we might be 
jostled against by those who were thronging behind, all 
bellowing the pandemoniacal chorus, without words and 
still less tune. Sedate professors looked gravely at the 
noisy procession, as it successively passed their gates, and 
made a pretence of trying to recognize the offenders in the 
moonlight ; young ladies came to their doors and laughed, as 
we marched by like culprits; and even nesrroes stopped in 
the streets to gaze and snicker at our predicament. I was 
choking with rage and indignation, but did not well know 
how to help myself. Ned, usually so quiet, was, I could 
see, terribly roused, and his prudence was fast yielding to 
his wrath. As we approached the hotel he could contain 
himself no longer, but, stopping short and taking advantage 
of the momentary lull, said : 

" A foolish custom gives you the right to tease and worry 
me inside of college bounds, and I am willing to bear my 
part there, but I deny that right in the public streets, and 



SEA-GIFT. 189 

shall treat all further molestation as an insult. Let me pass, 
sir !" 

This last remark was addressed to a coarse, burly fellow, 
who was standing immediately in front of Ned, with his 
eyes open very wide, as if in wonder. As Ned ceased speak- 
ing he thrust his great red face right into Ned's with a de- 
risive laugh. The next instant the blood was gushing from 
his nose, as Ned struck him with all his might in the face. 
This was the signal for a general melee. I had hardly time 
to spring forward and ward off a blow from Ned's head 
when a cane fell heavily on my own, making the whole 
place dance around with me, and increasing my sphere of 
stellar observation wonderfully. I made out to grapple 
with the nearest adversary, while Ned went down under 
twice his weight. The fencing saved me from a similar 
fate, and I had almost succeeded in turning my antagonist 
under, when the cry of "Faculty! Faculty!" was raised, 
and, as if by magic, every student fled, leaving Ned and me 
to claim the honors of the field, if the couple of tall gentle- 
men in dark clothes that were now seen approaching were 
disposed to accord us any. 

" Ned, are you hurt much ?" I inquired anxiously, assist- 
ing him to rise. 

" No ; are you?" he replied. 

" No, only a little thump on the head ; but yonder are 
some of the Faculty coming, and, if we do not wish to be 
involved in a long trial, we'd better run." 

"I am surprised at you, John. Run! what for? I 
should act precisely the same way under the same circum- 
stances again." 

The two figures we had seen had come up to us by this 
time, and proved to be only a couple of students, members 
of the Senior class, and one of whom I recognized as Mr. 
Carrover, my travelling acquaintance. 

" What's the row ?" he said, looking at us inquiringly, as 



190 SEA-GIFT. 

we were brushing the dust from our clothes. " Oh, I see, 
Sophs devilling you and you resisted ; right, too. They 
have no privileges beyond the campus. Come, go back with 
us, we will see that you are not molested further to-night." 

We were about to proceed to the hotel, when Carrover's 
companion spoke, for the first time, with a soft, rich voice : 

" Charlie, you forget me. I shall have to introduce my- 
self. DeVare is my name " 

" DeVare, I beg your pardon," said Carrover, hastily, 
" let me introduce you to Mr. Cheyleigh, of Wilmington, and 
Mr. Smith, of the same place." 

" I am very happy to know you both," he said pleasantly, 
offering his hand, " any assistance Charlie or myself can give 
you in dodging the Sophs will be cheerfully rendered." 

We thanked him, and brushing the dust of conflict from 
our clothes with our handkerchiefs, walked back with them 
to the hotel. The porch steps were thronged with students 
talking about our difficulty. 

" The scamps showed fight, did they," said one, as we ap- 
proached ; " that's too high for Fresh — they must be taken 
down." 

" Yes," echoed another, " a good smoke will bring 'em 
'round." 

"How came they to fight? Was anybody hurt ?" asked 
another. 

" Why, we were just devilling them a little," said the first 
speaker, when one of 'em asked Burly to let him pass, as 
if he were the Sultan, and, because Burly didn't make his 
obeisance, put a smasher on his nose. Ellerton tapped one 
a little with his cane, and I was choking the one that hit 
Burly, but the mutton-headed Faculty broke us up." 

We had reached the steps by this time, and passed 
through the crowd without molestation. Carrover turned 
when he got in the porch and said, addressing the students: 

" It was mean enough to devil Fresh in the streets, with- 



SEA-GIFT. 191 

out a dozen of you trying to beat two. If anything further 
is attempted to-night DeVare and myself will remain with 
them and help them to defend themselves." 

" Whoo-ee," shouted a half dozen voices, " that won't 
do, Carrover ; too plain a bid. Drum for your club more 
secretly." 

We only noticed that this sally rather confused Carrover, 
when, thinking it prudent to withdraw, we slipped off to 
our room unnoticed, and locked and bolted the door. We 
lit our lamps and examined the results of our struggle. A 
little knot on my head, and a torn collar on Ned's part, 
completed our list of casualties. Summing up the events of 
the day, we came to the conclusion that college life was not 
such a very fine thing after all, and that John Howard 
Payne was extremely sensible when he wrote 

" There's no place like home." 



CHAPTER XX. 



Our second day was spent in the ordeal of examination, 
in the selection and arrangement of our room, and engaging 
board at the most eligible place. Our room, at the sugges- 
tion of Mr. Carrover, was chosen in the South Building, and 
after innumerable expenditures, and Ned's taste for arrange- 
ment, it really looked comfortable and home like. We 
passed the different departments of study without any 
serious difficulty, and the bell for evening prayers found us 
ready for the session's work. 

We took a little stroll after tea, and were fortunate in 
meeting no one. Returning to our room and lighting up, 
we got our books and commenced to prepare, with all the 
interest of novelty, our lessons for the morrow. We had 



192 SEA-GIFT. 

not been thus engaged more than half an hour when there 
arose in a distant part of the campus the most diabolical din 
conceivable : a fiendish combination of all the disagreeable 
noises produceable. Tin horns, tin pan drums, bells, 
whistles, paper trumpets, and the vox humana in its loud- 
est, harshest notes, all roared forth their terrible discord on 
the still night air. 

We leaned out of our window and listened to this caravan 
of horrid sounds approaching, till it entered the South 
Building. Even then we did not suspect its destination, 
and not till we heard the procession tramping noisily up 
the stairs leading to our room did the truth flash upon us 
that we were the intended victims. It was too late to 
fasten the door. In a moment the room was full of our tor- 
mentors, each one trying to drown the other's clamor by 
extra exertion on his own part. They formed a circle 
around us and beat, and blew, and shouted till we were 
deafened and stupefied with the noise. 

Suddenly it ceased — everything was ominously still, and 
with sober face every one commenced active preparation for 
the more serious business of the evening. The door was 
closed and locked, the bed was stripped and the sheets hung 
up at the windows, with their edges stuffed in the cracks. 
Each then drew forth from his pocket an enormous pipe, 
and putting tobacco in it, began to smoke. Not the ordinary 
puffs of a pleasure whiff, but lighting about half a pipe full 
they would put more tobacco in on the fire, and instead of 
drawing, blow with all their might, ejecting from the bowl 
of the pipe a stream as large, and almost as solid as a man's 
wrist. As soon as I divined their object I got up and lay 
down across the bed, taking the pillow in my hand, that I 
might lay my face in it if it became very bad. 

The great volumes of smoke, rolling up to the ceiling, now 
began to spread into a thickening vapor that filled the room, 
growing denser and denser every second, and I found my- 



8EA-GIFT. 193 

self constantly coughing. Another minute and the moving 
forms of the smokers could scarcely be seen, while the 
lamp standing on the mantel was only a dim halo in the 
white fog. The smokers now had to relieve each other, 
placing a guard at the door to prevent our exit. Thicker 
and thicker grew the cloud, till the lungs, wearied with in. 
cessant coughing, almost refused to inhale the bitter, sicken- 
ing air. My eyes streaming with water closed themselves 
in spite of me, and my eyeballs were crossed with the 
nausea. I pressed my face down into the pillow for relief, 
but even that seemed a bag of tobacco, that was driving its 
dust into my throat. Every particle of air had its con- 
comitant particle of smoke, and with every wretched gasp I 
gulped down a wad of poison. 

A ton of weight seemed pressing on my chest, and my 
eyeballs almost started from my head in my intense efforts 
to feed my famished lungs, and to prevent the suffocation I 
was enduring. A few more gasps and a death-like sickness 
seized me ; the smoke closed around my head like the band 
of the Inquisition, and pressed all consciousness and sensa- 
tion out. With a blinding rush of darkness over my brain 
I fainted. 

The first thing I knew as a fact of consciousness was a 
vague perception of the odor of camphor and brandy ; then 
I knew that my hands were being violently chafed, and that 
something cold and wet lay on my forehead. My temples 
ached with a dull, unrelievable pain, and a deadly nausea 
seemed to pervade the very atmosphere. I opened my eyes 
and found that I was in a strange room, on a strange bed, 
around which were' grouped half a dozen forms with anxious, 
fear-whitened faces. Some were holding bottles, some 
basins of water, and all intently watching my face for signs 
of returning consciousness. I swallowed a little of the 
brandy they held to my lips, and as it burnt its way through 
my system I found strength to speak. Sitting upon the 

9 



194 * SEA-GIFT. 

side of the bed, with the support of two of those attending, 
I asked, in an idiotic way : 

" What — are — you all doing here ? Where — am — I ?" 

Their courage and effrontery revived as I revived, and 
their propensity for devilling returned as I returned to con- 
sciousness. There was a pause after I had spoken, and then 
a deep voice answered, in solemn tones : 

" You are in hell 1 As soon as you can walk we will go 
down to the sulphur lake. Pyrophylax, see that the chains 
are candescent and send in a bowl of melted lead ; he looks 
thirsty." 

The utter confusion of ideas consequent upon my loss of 
consciousness, and the miserable feelings I was enduring, 
rendered this assertion not at all improbable to me, and I 
would not have been very much surprised to have seen the 
brazen gate flung open, and the aimless chasers of the giddy 
flag the great Guelph saw in his Inferno, racing around the 
arid sand. At this point, however, some one said that I 
had had enough for one time, and offered to show me the 
way back to my room. Supported by his arm I staggered 
along the hall to my own room, which had been deserted 
and opened, to allow the smoke to clear out. The door was 
open, the windows raised, and the breeze, like a kind house- 
wife, had swept the smoke away, but its disgusting smell 
still clung to the curtains and the walls. 

Poor Ned was lying on the bed in a profound sleep. His 
corpse-like paleness, however, showed how much he had 
suffered, and the bucket near the bed side bore testimony 
to his sickness. It would have been cruel to have aroused 
him, so I lay gently down beside him and- slept till morning. 

A sick headache next day, and an intense smell of tobacco 
clinging to everything tangible, alone told us of the night's 
scene, and it slipped back, with the ever passing pains and 
pleasures of life, into memory's great reservoir. 



6 K A - G I F T . 195 



CHAPTER XXI. 

At last we were fairly inducted into college life, and com • 
menced a regular routine of daily duties. Our room was 
pleasantly situated, and all our neighbors agreeable. As 
new victims continued to arrive we were forsaken by the 
Sophs, much to our delight, and were permitted to enjoy a 
good meal at the table unmolested. 

Ned and I had formed as yet no circle of acquaintance. 
We were together nearly all the time, and having made up 
our minds, according to the invariable rule, to study harder 
than anybody ever did, we did not care much for the society 
of others. We both studied hard, and our progress in the 
various branches of instruction was, we thought, satisfactory. 
There was this difference between us, however — Ned studied 
uniformly, while I studied by impulse. The result was that 
while many of my daily lessons exceeded Ned's in prepara- 
tion and recitation, yet his average was far greater than 
mine. Ned studied to learn all his lesson — to know every 
part of it ; while I often picked over those points on which 
I thought I should most likely be examined. He studied to 
master the subject — to become acquainted with a language 
or to understand a problem ; I studied to make a good reci- 
tation. He stored up for the future ; I looked no farther 
ahead than the next morning's lecture. 

I remember well, when we got to reading Homer, Ned 
would worry a whole morning over an idiom ; and passages 
that I found no difficulty at all in rendering would afford 
him an hour's work with lexicon and grammar. I had a 
shorter way of doing things. I would take my Anthon's 
Edition — great friend of the student ! — and, with the aid of 
its voluminous references, and the notes in Kuhner, I would 



196 SEA-GIFT. 

easily cram all that it was probable the professor would 
touch upon. Simple, easy parts, that I was sure he would 
not notice, had to take care of themselves. When we went 
in to recite, all the portions I had prepared so carefully were 
given to others to render or construe, while I would be taken 
up on some part I had thought too simple for my attention, 
and would be found wofully ignorant. So, about twice a 
month I would make a brilliant recitation, the balance of 
the time failures. 

I suffered, too, from that great cheat of life, the self-pro- 
mise to " turn over a new leaf." Regularly every Monday 
morning, in accordance with the previous week's resolve, I 
would start afresh, and, after tremendous application and 
intense mental effort, would go to the section room and pass 
the hour without being noticed. Leaving it without having 
had an opportunity to manifest my diligence, I would feel 
a little less careful about Tuesday's preparation. After an- 
other day of silence I would merely glance at Wednesday's 
lessons ; and Thursday, with just a peep between the pages, 
I would be called to recite, and fail signally. The mortifica- 
tion would then evoke the firm resolve to " turn over a new 
leaf," but, inasmuch as the next day was Friday, I would 
conclude to wait till Monday. So Friday would go without 
study, and the next week would come and join the retreat- 
ing line of its predecessors, and nothing would be accom- 
plished but a slowly increasing indifference to failure, and 
a growing inability to reform. And in all my life since then 
there has still predominated that fault, turning over new 
leaves, and letting the very first breeze of difficulty flutter 
them lightly back again 1 

Is there anybody like me, or do my readers all paste 
their leaves down as they turn them over ? If you do not 
you will never get farther in the book of reform than the 
preface ! 

But, whether we workrd or idled, the days ever passed on 



SEA-GIFT. 197 

Ned and I were taking our stroll one evening in the 
early part of the fall. We had just turned our faces back 
towards the college when a gentleman and lady on horse- 
back approached. Before I could withdraw my eyes from 
an impolite stare, they had passed and were sweeping on 
far ahead. 

From that moment study was at an end for me. Soul 
and body was wrapped in admiration of this beautiful 
vision, that had flitted by like a dream. Yet I had not seen 
her face ; only the glorious wealth of golden hair, mingling 
and tossing with the long blue plume in her cap ; only the 
superb form, gracefully swaying to the motion of her pranc- 
ing steed; only the flutter of a rich white skirt beneath the 
blue velvet robe, and my heart was gone. 

" Great Heavens !" I exclaimed, grasping Ned's arm, 
" what a beauty ! Who is she, Ned ?" 

"How should I know?" he replied, coolly. " I suppose it 
is DeVare's sweetheart, as this is the second time I have 
seen him out riding with her." 

" DeVare ! then I may yet know her and be happy. 
Won't it be glorious, old fellow?" and I slapped Ned's 
shoulder exultingly. 

" Just half crazy, that's all you are as yet, John." 

" But see, Ned, they are returning. My throbbing heart, 
be still, that I may gaze !" 

As she again flashed by the wondrous beauty of her face 
and form made my jesting extravagance to Ned seem almost 
reasonable. I could think or talk of nothing else till we 
reached our room, and as soon as the lamps were lit, and I 
thought DeVare was in his room, I went to it. I found only 
Carrover there, but he said DeVare would be in presently, 
and told me to wait. 

Carrover and DeVare roomed together, and, as their 
rooms were on the same floor, and very near ours, we had 
become very intimate with them. Our intimacy was 



198 SEA-GIFT. 

strengthened and made more pleasant by Ned and me be- 
coming members of their club, so that they became our 
fastest friends, and we had even reached the point of calling 
them Charlie and Ramie. While I liked them both, yet 
Raymond DeVare was my favorite. Carrover was Courteous 
and kind, but there was always a slight touch of frigidity 
about him — a formality I could never quite penetrate — and 
as constantly as I was thrown in his company I could never 
feel at perfect ease ; I always felt younger, more unsophis- 
ticated and more capable of making blunders when he was 
looking at me than at any other time. He was so quiet 
and possessed in his air of savoirfaire that I always feared he 
was thinking that all I did was out of time or place, and was 
pitying my ignorance. This feeling was not strong enough 
to constrain me in his presence, or suppress my flow of 
spirits, but when with him I was always conscious of a 
slight hesitation in word and action. With DeVare it was 
different. He was even more refined and gentle than Car- 
rover, but he thought too much of others to think he knew 
more, and while he was the most brilliant man in his class, 
yet his nature's vocabulary had no such word as conceit in 
it. He always made me feel that I knew as much as he did, 
and, whenever we conversed, afforded me the pleasure of 
believing that I was very entertaining. He never ridiculed 
anybody, and I felt that I could eat peas with my knife, 
under his eye, and he never would remind me that it was 
customary to use a fork. He had that instinctive and yet 
cultivated delicacy that cared for another's feelings as if 
they were his own. Yet, when anything was wrong, he 
always condemned it with firmness, yet without bitterness. 
His moral character was spotless. 

But I am digressing again. I was waiting, then, for him 
to come to his room. I lolled down on the bed while Car- 
rover continued to study. 

In a few moments we heard DeVare's step, and he came 
into the room. 



SEA-GIFT. 199 

" Well," I said, rising up on one elbow, " I have been 
waiting for you a long time. Now, tell who was that 
superb woman you were riding with this afternoon, and 
where does she live? My heart is hers eternally. I'll 
vow, Ramie, I never saw as much beauty done up in one 
bundle before." 

DeVare frowned his brows at me and motioned his head 
towards Carrover, but as I thought he meant I would dis- 
turb him, I lowered my voice and went on : 

" Please tell me about her, Ramie. I know you love her. 
You couldn't be with her and not love her. Promise me 
you'll take me to see her and I'll hush, and let Charlie get 
his lesson." 

I looked at Charlie as I spoke and found him still intent 
on his page, but smiling peculiarly, as if there was some- 
thing ridiculous in Blackstone. 

" By the way, Charlie," said DeVare, as if my question 
was forgotten, " what do you think of the case for the Moot 
Court to-morrow evening ?" 

" I had not given it much thought," said Carrover, going 
to the bookcase for a volume ; " what was the statement of 
facts?" 

"Ob, bother the Moot Court," I said, getting off the bed, 
I'm on another kind of court now. Tell me about the girl, 
DeVare, and I'll leave you and Carrover to your old, dry 
discussions." 

" Jack, you are persistent," said DeVare, with a laugh in 
the corner of each eye, as if he foresaw my confusion, " the 
lady I was riding with this afternoon was Miss Lillian Car- 
rover, Charlie's sister." 

I felt a hot tingle run up my cheeks, then run down again, 
and I glanced hurriedly at Carrover. He was still standing 
at the bookcase with his back toward me, and seemed as if 
he had not heard our conversation. I first thought of ask- 
ing his pardon, but on second thought I changed the sub- 



200 8EA-GIFT. 

ject, and, after making one or two common-place remarks, 
left the room, resolving in the future not to be so free with 
my tongue. 

The next day Ramie assured me that Carrover had not 
thought anything of it, and told me that if I still desired 
her acquaintance he would take much pleasure in intro- 
ducing me. I informed him that no other thought or hope 
had been entertained by me since I had seen her, and be- 
sought him to make his convenience as early as possible. 

We fixed on the morrow's night as the time of our visit, 
and the pages of my books were all blank to my preoccu- 
pied thoughts for the next twenty-four hours. 

Virgil wrote about Lillian instead of Amaryllis, and stolid 
Socrates seemed to advise the cultivation of love for an 
angel in blue velvet. An equation of the fourth degree on 
the blackboard resol ved itself into a horse, with a leg for 
each degree ; and the only thing in the Algebra of any in- 
terest to me was the concrete example about the saddle and 
bridle being changed by mountings of different value. I 
was constantly with DeVare when not in lecture, and gath- 
ered from him, in reference to my sudden flame, that she 
was Carrover's only sister ; that she was a North Carolinian 
by birth, but had been adopted by a rich uncle in New 
York ; that she had been a Fifth Avenue belle since her fif- 
teenth year ; that she had returned in the last spring from 
an extended European tour ; that she had made a conquest 
of all the hearts from Saratoga to the White Sulphur during 
the past summer ; and, while staying at the last named 
springs, had met with Miss Minnie, our Professor's daugh- 
ter, an old playmate and friend. Reviving the old intimacy, 
she had agreed to come to North Carolina with her, and 
spend part of the winter at the University. 

On the morrow's afternoon DeVare showed me a deli- 
cately perfumed billet-doux, in most exquisite chirography, 
stating that Miss Carrover would be most happy to see Mr. 



SEA-GIFT. 201 

DeVare and his friend from half past nine to ten and half. 
As the parlors of the favorite young ladies at the University- 
were crowded every night, the plan had been adopted of 
engaging the hours, so that a young lady could specify 
the hour at which she would receive a visit from a gen- 
tleman, and he was not at liberty to stay longer unless he 
was specially invited, and no others had come in. Where 
there were so many students to so few ladies this served to 
avoid confusion, and gave the many who wished to call 
something like a chance to be heard, each for himself. 

That evening, immediately after tea, I commenced getting 
ready, and after completely exhausting my wardrobe and 
patience, felt but poorly prepared to be introduced to a 
young lady who had actually been to Europe, and reigned 
as one of the queens of our metropolitan society. 

As we neared the door I wondered that DeVare could be 
so cool and composed, while my heart was fluttering so that 
my limbs caught the tremor, and, in spite of the warm, 
pleasant night, persisted in having the ague. I saw that 
the curtain was down as we knocked at the door, but 
there was the reflection of light within, and the murmur of 
several voices. I had been thinking all the time of what to 
say first. I felt that I could get on very well after the con- 
versation started, but how to fill up with appropriate re- 
marks that dismal silence just after the introduction, was 
more than my inexperience could compass. I had made up 
some absurd compliment about the beautiful northern flower 
blooming still sweetly in southern soil, but the rat-tat of the 
knocker dissipated every collected thought, and left my 
mind blanker than before. 

A servant answered our knock ; we hung our hats on the 
stand. I arranged my cravat and smoothed on my glove for 
the thirty-seventh time, and the next thing I knew I was in 
a throng of faces, from which rose up one with a wavy mass 
of tawny hair, drooping sleepy eyes, and red lips, that parted 

9* 



202 SEA-GIFT. 

over smooth white teeth. I thought I heard DeVare's voice, 
as in a dream : " Miss Carrover, allow me to introduce my 
friend, Mr. Smith," and I bowed till the part in my hair alone 
was visible. 

There was another lady in the room, Miss Minnie, the 
daughter of the Professor, and I took the only seat in sight, 
which was near her. Notwithstanding our engagement, the 
parlor was full of gentlemen, and, to my horror, many of 
them were Sophs. There was quite a crowd of these around 
Miss Minnie, who was a vivacious little personage, full of 
mischief and wit, and dispensing her smiles and bon mots 
around with generous impartiality. As the conversation 
had begun before I entered I could not very well join in, and 
as no one addressed any remark to me, I sat bolt upright in 
my chair, with one arm thrown, with an attempt at ease, 
over the back, while the other fumbled at my watch chain. 

DeVare had found a seat near Miss Carrover, and was soon 
absorbed in conversation with her — supposing, of course, 
that after an introduction I would have nothing to do but 
proceed to enjoyment. A procedure not always of con- 
summate ease ! 

As I was sitting very near the circle around Miss Minnie, 
I soon found that I was not only the object of their mis- 
chievous glances but also of their wit. Their tones were 
just loud enough for me to hear, and after each sally all 
would join in a laugh, which Miss Minnie often led. From 
this they began to address themselves to me, calling me 
Fresh, asking what I had come for, and if I was not ashamed 
to use the parlor mirror to dress by. (I had been uncon- 
sciously adjusting my cravat in the mirror over the mantel.) 

As I was not certain whether the Sophs' prerogative ex- 
tended to a private parlor or not, I was afraid to say any- 
thing, but sat still, while my embarrassment drove the 
blood almost through my cheeks, and beaded my forehead 
with great drops of perspiration. 



SEA-GIFT. 203 

Miss Minnie then inquired if I would sit still or take a 
seat nearer the fire — the point of her remark lying in fact 
that it was quite a warm night, and there was not a spark 
in the fireplace. 

I tried to say " No, thank you," but not recognizing my 

own voice, cut it off with " No ," which itself was so 

meekly stammered it had no decided negative character ; 
but it had the effect of raising all the voices of the Sophs, 
who cried out : 

" Oh, how impolite, Fresh, to say no to a lady ! Where 
did you learn your manners ? How extremely vulgar !" 

I was just on the point of rushing from the room when 
DeVare's attention was attracted at this outcry, and he took 
in the position of affairs at a glance. His face was aglow 
with scorn and indignation as he rose from Miss Carrover's 
side and strode to our part of the room. 

" Gentlemen," he said — looking with withering contempt 
on the circle around Miss Minnie, "though the term is a 
misnomer — I have introduced Mr. Smith here : an insult to 
him is an insult to me. The presence of ladies is no place 
for a quarrel, but I characterize your conduct as ungentle- 
manly, and will be ready to hear from any of you at any 
time. You know my name and the number of my room. 
Miss Minnie, pardon me, but I am surprised that you should 
have allowed or encouraged such conduct in your house." 

" Really, Mr. DeVare, you are not in earnest ?" said Miss 
Minnie, with imperturbable good humor. " Why, I thought 
even the ladies had a right to tease the Fresh." 

"That is just as you please to think, Miss Minnie," he 
replied, with one of his bows ; " the gentlemen have heard 
my opinion of their conduct." 

" Lil, you and I will leave the parlor if the gentlemen wish 
to fight," said Miss Minnie, making a pretence of rising to 
leave the room. 

Miss Carrover looked at her with a shake of her head, and 



204 SEA-GIFT. 

with her soft rich voice said : " Minnie !" Then, turning to 
DeVare — 

" Come here, Mr. DeVare, Minnie is only jesting. Mr. 
Smith," addressing me, " have you seen these stereoscopic 
views of the University ? My brother had them taken last 
spring. Take a seat here on the sofa and look them over 
with me, and see if you can recognize them all." 

Her manner was so composed and gracious that we were 
all reseated and everything quiet before we knew it. I had 
felt so miserably wretched while DeVare and Miss Minnie 
were speaking that I felt eternally grateful to Miss Carrover 
for relieving me, even though she treated me as if I were 
very young, in doing it. 

In a moment or two all save DeVare and myself rose to 
leave — Brazon, who was the ringleader in Miss Minnie's 
persecuting circle, scowling malignantly at DeVare as he 
bowed himself out. 

As soon as they had gone Miss Minnie came to where I 
was sitting, and, with winning frankness, offered her hand, 
saying : 

" It was very naughty in me, Mr. Smith, to tease you. I 
beg pardon, and promise not to do so any more." 

I caught her hand convulsively, and assured her of my 
entire forgiveness, and implored her not to give herself any 
trouble on my account, and much more to the same inco- 
herent effect. 

She drew her hand gently from mine, and calling DeVare, 
said — 

" Mr. DeVare, let's take those seats by the window ; I have 
a fuss to make up with you, too." 

DeVare, of course, complied, and I was left alone on the 
sofa with Miss Carrover. We still had the box of pictures 
in our hands, but as soon as DeVare left she closed the box 
and said : 

" Let's put these tiresome old pictures up, and talk some. 



SEA-GIFT. 205 

Tell me all about the way the Sophs treated you when you 
first came." 

To be near such superb beauty was almost too much for 
my poor sentimental heart ; and then to have her wish to 
hear me talk, and even prescribe the subject, as if my words 
would be fall of so much interest ! I was stupid for awhile 
with surprise, and sat for nearly half a minute gazing ab- 
stractedly and impolitely in her face. Indeed, 'twas well 
worth gazing on. 

Her hair was not done up regularly, but caught in great 
loose folds around her head, so as to best set off her face, 
and was rolled back from her clear white forehead in a 
great golden wave — yet its color was not altogether golden ; 
it had a tinge of red that made it glow with a tawny light. 
Her skin was perfectly smooth and clear, and of wax-like 
whiteness, tinged with a bright peach pink on her cheeks. 
But her chief charms were her eyes and mouth. Her eyes 
were hazel or dark gray, I could never tell which, shaded 
with very long lashes and deep upper lids, that gave them 
a dreamy, languid expression, that always impresses us as 
most beautiful, we know not why. Her mouth was small, 
and very much arched at the corners ; her lips bright red, 
and her teeth perfectly white ; the upper lip protruded 
slightly, as if she was ever a little surprised, and this, com- 
bined with a constant slight arch of the eyebrows, imparted 
an air of interest in all you said, notwithstanding the 
languor of her general expression. Her beauty was Dudu's, 
and Byron well knew its fascinating power. 

As soon as I recovered from my brief contemplation of her 
face I made an attempt to give her my experience as a Fresh, 
and what with the pleasure of talking at all to her, and her 
interest in my subject, and continued ejaculations of pity, I 
began to wish the fellows had done me much worse than 
they had, it was so delightful to have her listen to tiic 
recital of my woes. When I told her of my fainting under 



206 SEA-GIFT. 

the smoking, she smiled such a lazy little smile, and said, 
" I did not know gentlemen indulged in such feminine 
weaknesses." 

"But the air was so noxious, Miss Carrover, no one 
could have borne it. You would have been compelled to 
faint." 

" Oh, I faint quite easily," she said, arching one eyebrow 
instead of two, " I came near falling from my horse as I 
went to mount last evening, and became unconscious for a 
little while." 

"And was no one there to catch you?" I asked, with 
earnest heroism in my tone. 

" Oh, of course, I took care to be provided with that safe- 
guard. Do you think you could catch me if we were riding 
and I should fall ?" 

" I would catch you if you fell from the skies," I replied, 
warmly, involuntarily feeling my arm, as if it belonged to 
Hercules, and looking at her just in time to catch a glance of 
significance passing between herself and DeVare. Feeling 
that perhaps I was just a little ridiculous, I endeavored to 
leave the subject gradually by asking if she was fond of 
riding horseback, and begging the honor of an engagement 
for the next evening. She thanked me, and said that as she 
had introduced the subject I might have construed it into a 
hint, and she must therefore decline the offer. As I seemed 
so cut down, however, she agreed to make an indefinite 
engagement, the time to be fixed any time after that 
evening. 

She then drew me out about our halls and libraries, till I 
had told of every alcove, and how well they were arranged 
for courting, and that all the students carried their sweet- 
hearts there, and ended by asking her to go with me there 
some evening after lecture. Another lazy smile, and she 
softly reminded me that she had introduced that topic also, 
and must therefore decline again, " at least," she said, look- 



SEA-GIFT. 207 

ing at me sideways under her long lashes, " till you claim 
me as your sweetheart, as you state that it is the resort of 
lovers only." 

I flushed and hushed for a moment, when DeVare rose 
from his seat with Miss Minnie, and said it was time for us 
to go. 

Miss Carrover gave me her hand at parting, and insisted 
on my calling again with so much sweet earnestness that I 
made myself ridiculous again in my promise to do so. 

We had scarcely passed outside the gate when I com- 
menced : 

" DeVare, is she not perfectly splendid ! I'll vow I'm 
crazy about her." 

" That was shameful conduct in those scoundrels to-night," 
DeVare said, without noticing my remark, " and had it not 
been for Miss Minnie and Lillian I would have punished 
them on the spot." 

"Do you call her Lillian, Ramie?" I asked with surprise. 

" If any of them want satisfaction for anything I said to- 
night," he continued, without heeding me, "I will have to 
request you, Jack, to act as my friend." 

" You may depend on me, Ramie ; but if there is to be 
any difficulty, I must be the principal, as it was all begun 
on my account." 

" Oh, nonsense," he said. " I gave the insult to them, 
and of course I only can satisfy them. I do not expect any- 
thing, however, from that crowd, as they are too cowardly 
to resent an insult." 

We parted at his room, and when I reached mine I made 
Ned put up his books for the night, and listen to my account 
of Miss Carrover. 

When I had at last wearied him out, and we went to bed, 
I could not go to sleep for the dancing train of fancies that 
were rushing through my mind. I lay there till far in the 
night, recalling every incident of my visit, trying to make its 



SE A - GIFT. 



memory as vivid as possible, thinking of every word she had 
said, and regretting the many foolish things I had said, 
which might lessen me in her estimation — (but oh ! I hoped 
not !) — wondering how she who had seen so much of society, 
who had seen everything worth seeing in Europe and Ame- 
rica, and knew almost everybody worth knowing, could be 
so interested in my talk — a youth just approaching man- 
hood, unused to the ways of the world and unskilled in the 
use of the tongue. Then I would, by an ingenious process, 
known only to those who are vain, endeavor to convince 
myself that she did like me, and would eventually love me. 
1 would imagine her telling Miss Minnie that I was a hand- 
some fellow, and so entertaining ; then wishing for me to 
call again, then giving me a preference in attention when 
I did call, then writing sweet notes of thanks for the many 
love tokens and gifts I would send her, then a moonlight 
stroll, a courtship, a kiss, and eternal happiness! 

I would fall asleep only to rebuild and embellish in my 
dreams the magnificent air castles of my waking hours. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The morning after our visit I was in DeVare's room, 
waiting for him to come in from lecture, when some one 
knocked, and, in answer to my invitation, Ellerton, a Sopho- 
more, who had been kind to me at first, entered, and asked 
for DeVare. Finding that I expected him in soon, he took 
a seat, and commenced some trivial talk about college mat- 
ters. He had had nothing to do with me since I joined 
DeVare's club> and a salutation when we passed had been 
the extent of our intercourse since early in the session. 

He spoke with regret of the last night's affair, and said 



SEA-GIFT. 209 

DeVare ought not to have been so quick to resent the 
fellows' fun. This, of course, nettled me, and I was about 
to make an angry reply, when DeVare himself came in. He 
bowed to Ellerton, who rose and handed him a note. De 
Vare's brow contracted as he read it, and as soon as he 
finished he tossed it to me, and sitting down to his writing 
table, commenced his reply. The note he had received was 
from Brazon, demanding a retraction of the language used 
last evening, and an apology in the presence of both ladies, 
or the usual satisfaction. Ere I had finished reading De 
Vare folded and addressed his answer, and Ellerton, receiv- 
ing it, bowed himself out. 

DeVare looked at me and smiled as I asked him what he 
intended to do. 

"My self-respect forbids that I should entertain a thought 
of yielding to the first demand ; custom and public opinion 
compel me to grant the second. I wrote, therefore, that I 
had no remark to regret, and no retraction to make ; and 
that I would accord him any satisfaction he might desire 
1 took the liberty of referring him to you, as my friend." 

"You were perfectly right in that ; but, DeVare, I must 
take your place, and be the principal in this affair, as it was 
all undertaken on my account." 

" That could not be, Jack, even if I were willing, which 
I certainly am not. Do not trouble yourself about it, for I 
do not feel one particle of concern or uneasiness in refer- 
ence to it. You had best now go to Ellerton's room, and 
confer with him in regard to the arrangements. One thing 
1 will mention : if there has to be a meeting get it put off 
till the end of the session, as the laws of the University 
require instant expulsion for any one in anywise connected 
with a duel." 

I had scarcely risen from my seat when Ellerton again 
tapped at the door, to request me to walk with him over to 
his room. 



210 SEA GIFT. 

I rose and followed him, feeling, I must confess, some- 
what important as second in a duel which would create 
quite a stir, and yet feeling sadly conscious that it was a 
strange manifestation of friendship to be arranging prelimi- 
naries for my friend's possible and probable death. 

When we reached Ellerton's room he motioned me to take 
a seat, and said : 

"Brazon has read DeVare's note, and as he refuses to 
apologize, I wish to know when he will meet him, and with 
what weapons ?" 

" ! Ellerton !" I said, thoroughly unmanned, " cannot 
this wretched affair be settled without recourse to arms ? I 
was the unintentional cause of it all, and, as DeVare will not 
hear of my taking his place on the field, I will submit to 
any humiliation to save him." 

" I don't think your humiliation would do much good," 
he remarked, coolly, sticking his knife through a match 
lying on the table, and splitting the phosphorus into a 
blaze. " DeVare is the man who insulted him, and Brazon 
will alone be satisfied with his blood." 

" I'll have his if he gets it," I said, savagely, recalled to 
myself by his words. 

"Well, well, do not threaten," he said, throwing the 
match on the floor and rubbing it out with his boot ; "let's 
proceed to business." 

He got paper and pens, and we agreed on the following 
arrangements : 

Time of meeting, the 3d of December ; place, just in the 
South Carolina line ; weapons, Derringer pistols ; distance, 
ten paces. 

"Is that all, now," I said, rising to leave. 

" I believe so," he said, running his finger down the 
paper. "It's pretty far off now, and we'll have to keep 
our principals up to the point. I'm afraid they'll cool off 
and make friends yet." 



SEA-GIFT. 211 

"You need have no fears in regard to mine," I said, 
haughtily, "he'll make no overtures, and will certainly be 
ready when the time comes." 

I reported all to DeVare, who expressed himself satisfied 
with the arrangements, and apparently dismissed the sub- 
ject from his mind for any allusion he made to it during the 
days and weeks following. 

The same evening I walked out, and received a very gra- 
cious bow from Miss Carrover, which set my heart in a 
flutter, though I was considerably troubled at seeing Eller- 
ton in the porch with her. 

That night I wrote to father, with many excuses and rea- 
sons for the request, to send me my horse and Reuben ; and 
feeling perfectly assured they would come, made up my 
mind what to do when they did. 

After a day or two I called again on Miss Carrover, and 
was fortunate this time in finding her alone. I enjoyed a 
very delightful tete-a-tete with her, and, among other things, 
told her that I had sent for my horse, and that when he 
came I would claim the ride she had so cruelly refused me 
the evening I had first called. She readily assented, and 
expressed the wish to ride him herself. Then she consented 
to sing for me ; and, having been assured that her favorite 
would be mine, selected Meyerbeer's " Robert le Diable." 
Though her voice was very fine, yet it had been trained in 
such affectation of the opera that the song lost all of its 
melody and pathos in her rendition. She got up so high in 
her screams for grace that it was only possible to descend 
by a ladder, which, like Brother Weekly, she constructed of 
"er," and came hopping down with such an impenitent 
gra-er-a-er-a-er-ce pour moi that no one could have blamed 
Robert for his inexorable " Non, non, non" At the conclu- 
sion of the piece I was, of course, profuse in my thanks and 
praise ; but, fearing another such infliction, I begged for 
some instrumental music, and was tested, as to patience, by 
ten or twelve pages of banging and scaling. 



212 SEA-GIFT. 

Yet my visit was very delightful, and I departed more 
enraptured than ever, if such a thing was possible. 

When I recounted my visit to Ned, he only laughed, and 
advised me seriously to attend more closely to my books. 

"You know how much your father expects of you," he 
said ; " and you may be sure this Miss Carrover does not 
care a fig for you." 

" I know she does," I responded, warmly. " Even on 
this, my second visit, she has shown me plainly that she 
likes me well. I'll bet we are engaged before three months. 
Won't that be glorious, Ned ? Surely, man, you have no 
eyes, or you would be enslaved yourself by her beauty." 

" My vision is very good," said Ned, "but I don't see any 
thing enslaving about her. She is pretty, without doubt, 
and is probably entertaining ; but there are others equally 
as good looking, and more capable of rendering you happy. 
Besides, do you suppose that a lady who has been the object 
of a great city's adulation can be pleased with any one in 
this little village of students — half of whom she regards as 
mere boys ?" 

" Umph, we are as good as any Adonis of Broadway. 
And then, Ned, a lady who felt at all bored by our presence 
would evince it in some way. A look, a careless word or a 
sneer would betray her feelings. No, Ned, you are surprised 
at my success, and only predict evil because you hate to 
confess the contrary is true." 

" Well," said Ned, turning over the leaves of his lexicon 
in search of a flea of a word, " go on ; but you will find she 
is only amusing herself with you during her rustication." 

" But, Ned, I know she likes me ; and won't it be splen- 
did to call the beauty of Gotham mine ?" 

" Go your way, old fellow," said Ned, catching the flea 
r.n'd pinning it with his pencil on the margin of his text- 
book ; " but, mark my words, in three months from to-day 
your adored will have discarded you, and you will then be 
regretting the moments you have wasted on her." 



SEA-GIFT. 213 

" That reminds me," I said, taking down my book, " I 
must cram Greek for to-morrow." 

After an hour's study we retired — Ned well prepared, I 
just half. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Several days have passed, and I am still in dreamland 
with Miss Carrover. I manage to attend recitations, but 
that is all. The tutor's instructions fall on an inattentive 
ear, and his questions receive random answers. My books 
are all neglected, and even when I try to study, my mind is 
so preoccupied that it proves a perfect Dansean sieve, and 
after an hour's vacant rambling over a page I close the 
book, with a more confused idea of its contents than I had 
before I opened it. 

I visit Miss Carrover every other evening, at least, and in 
the interim am thinking of a word she spoke, a smile she 
gave; or am forming rainbow conjectures as to how she will 
treat me when I next call. 

A week after the events narrated in the last chapter, I 
received a letter from my father, saying that he had read my 
letter with some surprise, but that, while he feared my horse 
would prove an hindrance to study, he did not like to refuse 
my first request, and had accordingly started Reuben off 
with him the morning before; that he hoped I would not let 
it deter me from applying myself diligently to my books, 
but tli at my report at the close of the session might be, as 
it always had been in my other schools, perfect. 

I examined the date of the letter and found that it had 
been delayed a day, so that Reuben and Phlegon, starting 
the day before, ought to reach the University that day. I 
made a minute calculation, and found that they would 



214 SEA-GIFT. 

arrive by one o'clock, and so, with a sigh of repentance over 
my dereliction of duty, and a firm resolve to do better, 
I determined, as that was Friday, to snap lecture, and 
watch for Reuben, waiting for Monday to turn over my 
new leaf. 

Accordingly, when the bell for lecture rung, instead of 
going with Ned to the section room, I strolled through the 
campus and gave myself up to sweet thoughts of Lillian. It 
was one of my autumn days. The sun was shining with a 
still, mellow light through a golden haze, which seemed to 
have fallen on all Nature, so yellow were the leaves on the 
trees and the stubble in the fields. The air was still and 
dreamy, and the campus, usually so full of noise and life, 
empty and deserted. I tried to think of Lillian as the only 
one in the world besides myself ; of the universe as being 
made for us two, and of how sweetly we would live for each 
other. But somehow my soul would not fall into the delici- 
ous reverie her name usually inspired. For the first time 
since I had met her I could not think constantly of her, but 
my mind was ever and anon recurring to father's letter 
and his admonitions. There was an aching at my heart, a 
restless unhappiness I could not understand. I wandered 
about for half an hour, then sought out the negro who rang 
the bell, obtained the belfry keys from him, and went up in 
the cupola of the South Building. Taking my seat on the 
window ledge, I gazed on the beautiful scene around. A 
large extent of country spread out before me, gently undu- 
lating, and specked here and there with lonely white houses 
or groups of negro quarters. The haze of the zenith softened 
down to a deep shaded violet as it met the horizon, and long 
lines of smoke stood stiffly around the verge, like gray senti- 
nels guarding the Great Beyond. A little way off a herd of 
cows were grazing, and the hoarse monotones of their cop- 
per bells were just audible enough to be drowsy ; while 
along the red line of the road that wound out of sight by 



SEA-GIFT. 215 

the cemetery, a white top wagon, with sluggish horses, was 
slowly crawling on to Raleigh. 

My mind now easily fell into reverie, but Miss Carrover 
was not its burden. Conscience, that had so long been tap- 
ping at the door of a heart too full of love to let it in, now 
gained a hearing, and told of wrong after wrong, of duties 
neglected, of promises of diligence forgotten, of honors so 
easily in reach unstriven for, of a doting father (of whose 
kind indulgence I was about to receive such a striking 
proof) so culpably deceived, of golden opportunities wasted 
which might never be retrieved — all for a love which was, 
perhaps, in vain — till remorse applied its tortures to my soul 
and I was miserable. Then came the struggle. Could I give 
Lillian up ? Could 1 drive out all those sweet thoughts of her 
that had been such pleasant companions for me while away 
from her ? Could I bear to think of her sighing for me, 
while I cruelly kept away ? Above all, could I bear to think 
of her smiling on others and forgetting me, only because I 
had forgotten her? No, I could not do that, but I would go 
to see her less frequently; I would study harder; and re- 
deem the lost time ; I would gain the first honors ; and yet 
love Lillian. Like Alan of Buchan, I would win both ban- 
ners, and father would smile on my honors and approve my 
choice. 

Patting down my conscience with these good resolutions, 
I chanced to look out on the scene again, and saw, coming 
down the road from Raleigh, a horse and rider. The horse 
was blanketed, but I knew by the lordly bearing and arch- 
ing neck that it was Phlegon, and I clambered down from 
the belfry, and ran down to the hotel to meet him. The 
bell rang for the close of lectures at the same time, and the 
students were thronging from the various lecture rooms, and 
many shouted at me as I hurried through the campus. I 
reached the hotel just as Reuben rode up. I had hardly 
gotten through making inquiries about them all at home 



216 SEA-GIFT. 

when the students, in large numbers, came down to the 
hotel, and commenced making comments on myself and my 
horse. Some of my friends, however, coming to me and 
desiring to see him, I made Reub( n take off his blankets and 
move him up and down^the street, to show his action. As 
Reuben stripped the cloth from his glossy hide, and the 
splendid form stood revealed in its matchless grace, a mur- 
mur of approbation ran through the crowd. And Phlegon 
was in every respect worthy. An English thoroughbred, 
he possessed the marks of an aristocratic ancestry, lords of 
the turf for many generations. The sharp pointed ears, the 
mild dark eye, and the tapering rnousu colored muzzle, with 
its red open nostrils, were a coat of arms as perfect as argent 
fields and unicorns rampant. 

His color was a beautiful claret, and his coat as glossy as 
if just washed in the ruby wine. His limbs tapered deli- 
cately, but the muscles were round and full of strength. He 
had evidently been the pet at home since I had left, and it 
was with no little pride that I ordered Reuben to take him 
round to the stables I had engaged for him. I went back to 
my room, feeling a good deal flattered by hearing some one 
say, as Reuben rode off : 

" That's a crack Fresh, to keep a horse the first session." 

That evening, of course, I rode out, and, riding out, of 
course passed the house where Miss Carrover was staying, 
She was on the porch with DeVare as I swept by. I 
bowed and said, " To-morrow evening !" and she kissed hej 
hand at me and said, " Without fail !" I was happy again, 
and my good resolutions about such very hard study began 
to melt. 

The next evening found me in the parlor, while Reuben 
stood at the gate holding Phlegon and the horse from the 
livery stable Miss Carrover usually rode. 

As she swept into the room, holding up the long folds of 
her riding habit with one gauntleted hand, while the other 



SKA-GIFT. 211 

threatened me with her pearl and gold riding whip, I 
thought I had never seen anything half so lovely, and I play- 
fully bent on one knee as she said : 

" You wicked boy, why did you come so late. I have 
been waiting ever so long for you ?" 

I apologised with all meekness, threw the blame on Reuben, 
and escorted her out to the block. As soon as she saw my 
horse she burst into an estacy of admiration, and vowed 
that I must have the saddles changed ; that she could not 
allow her escort to ride a prettier horse than she was on. 
As I believed him perfectly safe, I ordered Reuben to change 
the saddles, then assisted her to mount, took her gaitered 
little foot in my hand to adjust it in the stirrup, and then, 
springing into my saddle, we galloped away into the even- 
ing sunlight. Phlegon seemed aware of the lovely burden 
he was bearing, and curvetted and pranced with a pride 
that would have made Lucifer seem humble. She was very 
much exhilarated, and lost her dreamy air for one of sprightly 
vivacity. She flattered me by innuendo, and said sweet 
things at me through my horse, till I was perfectly blind in 
my belief in her love for me. She gave me a rosebud from 
her hair, which I solemnly assured her should be treasured 
till the heart, over which I pinned it in my lappel, should be 
cold and pulseless. She spoke of our engagement to visit 
the library and fixed the hour in the afternoon earlier than 
she had at first appointed, saying, as she did so, " We will 
have more time to be together, you know." 

"Thanks for your consideration of my happiness, Miss 
Carrover," I said, bowing, while my heart fluttered with 
pleasant surprise to hear her speak so. " Time always 
seems to be running a race when I am with you. The mo- 
ments fly by only too swiftly when we are with those we 
— er — '' A good spur and a rearing horse are first rate 
reliefs for embarrassment when we hesitate for a word ; at 
least I found them so that afternooa. 

10 



218 SEA-GIPT. 

She did not make any remark in some time, and I con- 
tinued : 

" You must be very unselfish, Miss Carrover, to confer so 
much pleasure on those who visit you, and receive so little 
in return." 

" Oh no, indeed," she replied, tapping Phlegon on the ear 
with her whip, " it is a very great pleasure to me to meet 
and converse with friends, such as I believe you are, Mr. 
Smith." 

" Indeed I am not your friend, Miss Carrover," I said, 
grasping my reins very tight, and gaining courage from the 
grasp; " a nearer, fonder word than friendship must express 
my feelings for you." 

" No, really ?" she said, with that matchless arch of her 
eyebrows, looking me full in the face. 

When a kettle is about to boil over, add a few drops of 
cold water, and it subsides without another bubble. These 
two words were like ice to my heart's fervor, and we rode a 
long way in silence, I combing out my horse's main with 
my fingers, she humming the fragments of a song, and fleck- 
ing off specks of dust from her skirt with her whip. 

When she spoke she changed the subject, and I had 
scarcely courage to speak of the beauties of Nature for the 
remainder of the ride. 

When we returned I gave up the horses to Keuben at the 
gate, and, bidding Miss Carrover good evening, walked 
towards my room meditating. 

She doubtless loves me, thought I, but of course she is not 
going to reveal it till I convince her of my sincerity. She 
has probably been annoyed with empty protestations of love 
from so many that she believes all men faithless, and my 
sudden and inappropriate declaration this afternoon was 
certainly not calculated to inspire any belief in its truth. 
She is a lady of too much tact and experience to discover 
the real state of her feelings till I have proved myself in earn- 



SEA-GIFT. 219 

est, and that I mean to do before another sun shall set. My 
horse, which she knows I prize so highly, will at least prove 
that I am not trifling. 

I spent that night till bed time writing notes presenting 
her with Phlegon, and then tearing them up, till I almost 
despaired of getting one to suit me. Towards twelve o'clock, 
however, I completed one on the fanciest paper procurable, 
and, delicately perfuming it, laid it by till Monday morning, 
as the next day was the Sabbath. 

Monday morning was the time I had appointed for my 
new leaf, but the excitement of sending my horse to Miss 
Carrover made me determine to put off the reform I had con- 
templated to next day. 

After breakfast I told Reuben to take Phlegon, and go up 
to Mr. Pommel's store and get the saddle I bought there 
Saturday. 

"What chu want wi' another saddul, Marse John? Dat 
one ole marse gin you rides better'n any saddul I ever sot 
on." 

** Go and do as I told you, and don't ask so many ques- 
tions. It is a side saddle Pve bought, and I am going to 
give Phlegon away." 

" G-wine to give 'way Phregon 1 What you 'spect to do 
wid me, Marse John ?" 

"You are to attend to him still, and saddle him whenever 
the lady wants to use him." 

"Um-umph, dat's gone by me!" he muttered, as he walked 
off to obey my orders. 

After he had gone with my note the anxious suspense of 
waiting for the answer was immense. I went up in my 
room and tried to study, but it was in vain. At the end of 
half an hour I heard the clatter of hoofs under the windows, 
and found Reuben returned on my horse. His teeth were 
gleaming to the first molars as he gave me Miss Oarrover'e 
note. I tore it open hastily, and read : 



220 SEA-GIFT. 

" Mr. Smith : 

" Your unselfish generosity in offering such a superb con- 
tribution to my pleasure forbids that I should return your 
gift as formally as etiquette requires. A moment's reflec- 
tion, however, will convince you that I could not accept 
your beautiful horse ; yet I assure you the motives prompt- 
ing the offer are fully appreciated, and will be gratefully 
remembered. The sentiments of regard you so kindly 
express are more than reciprocated, and it will be my great- 
est pleasure to continue a friendship which has been so 
delightful to me, and, I trust, not unpleasant to you. 

" Hoping that this conventional necessity may not wound 
your feelings, I remain, 

"The Same Lillian.'' 

I folded the note with an air of pride and a consciousness 
of my powers of conquest I had never felt before. Now I 
have the written proof of her esteem. I wonder if Ned will 
doubt my success. 

" What were you laughing at, Reuben, when you gave 
me this note ?" I said, turning to where he stood, still grin- 
ning. 

"He-e-e! he!" he snickered, rubbing his nose against 
the saddle, " dem young ladies tinks you's a gone case, Marse 
John." 

" What did they do when you got there ?" 

" Dey was at de window when I gallupped up, an' dey 
both come out to de porch, an' de little one laugh like any- 
thing when de purty one told what you sed in de note, and 
she pinched her on de arm, and say, ' he's gwine to gib you 
heself nex',' and den dey both laugh. De purty one say 
den, 'I wish he would ; I'd keep him.' An' while she gone 
to write de note de little one asts me sight er questions 
'bout you, an' I tell her ' dun no 'm' to everything, 'cause I 
d' want her to marry you, Marse John. Den de tother one 



SKA-GIFT. 221 

come back, an' gin me dat little cranksided invellop, an' tole 
me to fetch it to you. Des as I git in de saddle, T hear one 
of em say, ' Boot'ful, ain't it ; and so thortless of my prezure 
in him.' But I never stay der, I tell you, Marse John. I 
lef, glad 'nough to fetch Phregon back 'gin." 

"Well, take him back to the stable, and rub him off," I 
said, turning to go upstairs. 

The case now stands thus, I said to myself, as I walked 
thoughtfully up the steps: She evidently loves me. She 
knows now that I love her ; all that is needed is a mutual 
confession. When shall it take place? The very first 
opportunity. 



CHAPTER XXIY. 

I had secured the key from the librarian, and we did not, 
therefore, fear interruption, as the library of the Society 
was only open to the public on Saturdays. 

As we walked from alcove to alcove selecting books, read- 
ing an extract from one, examining the engravings in 
another, and I realized that we were all alone in the great 
silent hall, I felt the resistless current of my love more 
strongly than ever, and determined to reveal it if I could, 
before we left the library. But the very thought, of sitting 
by her side and telling her to her face that I loved her made 
a hot flutter rise in my heart that imparted its tremor to my 
limbs, and I began to think it were best to put off the dis- 
closure a few days yet. 

At length we took our seat on one of the sofas, and bent 
together over a beautifully illustrated copy of that passion- 
ate Persian poem — the Gitagovinda. 

We opened to a picture of Rhada half concealed in the 



222 SKA-GIFT. 

papyri, gazing on the inconstant Heri as he sports with the 
laughing shepherdesses. The sad, wounded look spread 
over the chiselled features told of the jealousy within her 
heart, and shaded the radiance of Heaven with the blight 
of Earth's sorrow. 

" Isn't that face exquisite?" she said, after gazing for some 
time at it without speaking ; " and the hand half raised, hold- 
ing the broken stem of lotus, how perfect in outline. The 
whole picture is the loveliest thing I ever saw." 

" You haven't had the advantage of a mirror recently, 
then," I said, tamely. 

" That is fulsome and exceedingly stale," she said, with a 
smile that softened but did not quite destroy the sarcasm of 
her tone. 

" Indeed, Miss Carrover, you are lovely enough to make 
Heraclitus cease weeping ; but I would not seek your favor 
with adulation. Your experience as a flirt has doubtless 
taught you too well how to estimate the compliments of — er 
(I longed for my horse and spur again, but not having 
them with me I was forced to its utterance) — lovers." 

"Do you call me a flirt," she said, closing the book, and 
setting it up edgewise on her lap, so that she might lock her 
beautiful fingers over it, "after all the consideration and 
regard I have shown you ? Has anything in my conduct 
toward you indicated that I was flirting with you ?" 

" No ; I confess with deep gratitude that, so far as I am 
concerned, you do not yet deserve the name. But I do fear 
your ridicule and sarcasm, or my bursting heart would tell 
its love." 

" Poor little heart 1 do not burst," she said, patting me 
with one hand gently over my heart. 

Of course I caught the hand and imprinted a very fervent 
kiss on it ; a liberty which she resented by calling "Sir-r-r," 
with a great many r's, and vowing she would not speak to 
me again while we were in the library. I gazed at her a 
moment, and then broke out passionately : 



SEA-GIFT. 223 

" Miss Lillian — may I call you that ? — let's cease trifling. 
I love you ; but before you laugh me to scorn let me tell 
you how I love you. I have never loved before, can never 
love again, as I love you now. My life, my soul is wrap- 
ped up in you ; my whole being is in yours ; and exist- 
ence without your love to possess or to hope for is utterly 
worthless. No other thought, no other object has been 
mine since I saw you ; and I solemnly vow to you now, I 
care for, hope for nothing else on earth but your smile and 
favor. I cannot, dare not believe that you love me now ; 
but give me one ray of hope, one straw to cling to ; promise 
that you will learn to love me in years to come ; that after 
long, patient devotion on my part, and satiety of conquest 
on yours, you will give me your heart. Dearest Lillian, pro- 
mise me." 

The sexton of the library had forgotten his broom, and it 
chanced to be leaning against the sofa arm near her. She 
quietly handed it to me, and said, with an affected sigh : 

" Alas ! I have no hope to offer, but there is a broom full 
of straws for you to cling to." 

I dropped my head into my hands, and moaned : 

" Oh heaven ! the agony." 

" Really, Mr. Smith, you act your part well. I can only 
regret that the programme of courtship you have evidently 
studied is a hackneyed one. Indiscriminate flattery, life 
and death pledges of devotion and vows of eternal fealty ! 
The addition of a little poetry, about the fountain of your 
heart being sealed, to keep its waters, etc., would have made 
it perfect." 

"Miss Carrover," I said, raising my head from my hands, 
and looking at her with a countenance so full of despair I 
saw she knew at last that I was in earnest, " it is enough. 
Before we drop the subject, though, forever, hear me. As I 
hope to be judged in eternity, every word I spoke just now 
was earnest truth. As you value the happiness of a fellow 



224 SEA-GIFT. 

being, do ine the justice, at least, to believe this ray solemn 
assertion." 

"Mr. Smith," she said quickly, her face losing the expres- 
sion of incredulous derision it had worn, and assuming a 
seriousness I had never before seen on it, " were you really 
in earnest?" 

"Before my Maker, I was." 

" Can you pardon my unkindness, then," and she offered 
her soft little hand. I took it, but did not release it imme- 
diately, but sat holding it in mine, and gazing down at the 
floor. Though so near her, I felt that we were separated 
by an immense chasm, whose black depths were unfathom- 
able ; but now her last words threw a tiny thread of gold 
across it, and on this slender bridge Hope, like another 
Blondin, prepared to tread. 

" I have been called a flirt," she continued, to my joyful 
surprise letting her hand remain in mine, " and perhaps the 
title is deserved ; for I confess that I have constantly sought 
the conquest of hearts, and I enjoy nothing so much as a 
long story of love poured out for my mockery — not that I 
love to cause pain in others, but I have ever found men's 
vows insincere, deserving nothing better than scorn. When- 
ever I have had reason to believe one sincere I have always 
made the dismissal, if I rejected him, as kind as possible. 
With you, my dear friend — will you allow me to deal can- 
didly ? — I was much pleased, and enjoyed your pleasant viva- 
city and humor exceedingly ; so that I will confess I looked 
forward to your visits more pleasantly than to almost any 
one else's. Thus, without intending it, I have encouraged 
a love which from the first I knew I could not return, but 
which I did not suppose was serious. If I esteemed you 
less I might bid you hope that I might retain you as a 
suitor ; but the very earnestness of your love forbids that 
I should deceive you. I cannot love you, save as a friend. 
That is very trite, isn't it ? Still, it expresses my feelings, 



SKA-GIFT. 225 

and I trust that you will believe me when I assure you that 
I do and ever shad entertain the highest regard for you." 

" Do not say you can not love me, Miss Carrover. Surely 
a love so devoted as mine will yet win some return." 

She did not reply ; but slipping the diamond ring on her 
third finger down to the tip, and holding it there with her 
thumb, she held it to me. I looked down on the inside of 
the gold band and saw, marked in ruby points, as if written 
in blood, the names Raymond and Lillian." 

" Raymond 1" I exclaimed, " who — what is the surname ?" 

" DeVare !" she whispered softly. 

The golden thread snapped in twain, and Hope fell forever 
into the abyss 1 

I did not reply, for I knew it would have been folly to 
attempt to supplant Raymond DeVare, and I would not if I 
could have done so at a breath. 

As neither of us had any further use for the library we 
closed it and walked home. Nothing special was said; only 
when I bade her good-bye she said, with the old irresisti- 
ble look : " You will still visit me?" 

I bowed low, and said, " If you wish me to." 

On my way home I made up my mind to one thing, that, 
however much I might feel depressed, I would not let Ned 
find it out. He had provoked me enough with his predic- 
tions ; he should not now have the triumph of saying, " I 
told you so." 

After tea I took a long stroll with DeVare, and, as the 
conversation led to it, I told him all. He smiled when I con- 
cluded, and said he had been expecting as much. He then, 
in return for my confidence, told me that they had been en- 
gaged since early in the summer. That he and Carrover 
had gone to Newport, and he had met her there and loved 
her ; that they were betrothed before he left, and that they 
were to be married the coming June, immediately after his 

graduation*- 

10* 



226 SEA-GIFT. 

" That is," he continued, " if the meeting we have arranged 
for in December does not prevent it." 

"Does she know of it?" I asked. 

" No ; and I would not have her to for worlds." 

" But, Ramie, there will never be a meeting,'' I said, cheerily. 
" Brazon is too cowardly to fight ; and if he were not, time 
would make the affair too trivial to be remembered, espe- 
cially as it is safest to forget it." 

" Brazon would never have begun," he said, " had it not 
been for the advice of others. Of course their purpose is to 
continue the affair, as they suffer no uneasiness on account 
of it." . " 

" Well, Ramie, let us look on the bright side of things. I 
do not believe that the affair will come off at all, and if it 
does it will be without danger to yourself." 

DeVare then gave me his personal history, stating that he 
was an only child ; that his father had been dead a great . 
many years ; that his mother was perfectly devoted to him, 
and that this was the first session she had passed without 
spending most of the time at Chapel Hill or Raleigh, where 
he could run down to see her often. 

" She will not leave New Orleans till the close of Novem- 
ber," he continued, " when we will together go to Richmond 
to spend my vacation. The thought of the terrible blow to 
her, if I should fall, is the only thing that makes me shrink 
somewhat from the meeting." 



CHAPTER XXV. 



The thirtieth November came at last, and found DeVare, 
Ned and myself on the train for Wilmington. 

The fall session had closed that afternoon, and we had 
gone up to Durham's to take the night train. DeVare was 



SEA-GIFT. 221 

going home with me, and would remain till the 3d Decem- 
ber, when we were to go over to South Carolina, that Brazon 
might prove himself a gentleman by trying to take DeVare's 
life. 

He and Ellerton were on the same train, in company with 
Prank, but there was no intercourse between any of us. 

We reached Wilmington late the next evening, and were 
heartily welcomed by every one. It was delightful to be in 
my dear home again, every one so glad to see me, and all 
interested in the merest little detail of my experience. Car- 
lotta was far more beautiful than when I had left her, and I 
thought, if years improve her as months have done, she will 
be the most superbly beautiful woman the world has ever 
seen. DeVare was perfectly enraptured with her, and vowed 
that were his affections free he would lay them at her feet. 
In fact, everything was made so pleasant to both of us that 
he declared my home the happiest he had ever known. My 
spirits were very much depressed. Do what I would I 
could not shake off a dull, heavy foreboding that seemed to 
shroud my heart in perpetual gloom. Even when I would 
forget it for a while, there was the same unrest, the same 
consciousness of something unpleasant, ever resting on my 
mind. Whatever were the consequences of the dreaded 
affair to the others, to myself they could be nothing else but 
disagreeable. If there were no bloodshed, I would incur 
father's displeasure to the last degree. I would be liable to 
indictment in law, and would, perhaps, be expelled the Uni- 
versity ; while if DeVare was killed, but I could not 

allow myself to think of such a horror for the slightest 
moment. 

Every day I prayed, with all the faith I could command, 
that it might not occur, and, if it did, that no blood might 
be spilled. I would have informed the authorities had I not 
promised DeVare to keep it secret. All this dread of it 
arose from the fact that I was onlv the second. Had I been 



228 SEA-GIFT. 

one of the principals in it the romance of excitement would 
have kept up my spirits, and the necessity for heroic de- 
meanor would have nerved me into nonchalance. DeVare 
seemed perfectly cheerful, and scarcely ever gave the subject 
a thought, but my loss of spirits was so perceptible that 
father rallied me in regard to it, and mother became really 
solicitous. 

The night of the 2d December came round, and DeVare 
and I went to our rooms to make preparations for our trip 
next morning. I had told them down stairs that DeVare 
had a little matter of business in South Carolina, and that I 
had agreed to accompany him thither. We had very few 
preparations to make, as we expected to return on the even- 
ing train. As I said this to DeVare, when he suggested that 
we had best carry a valise, I remember the peculiar smile 
with which he replied : 

"Perhaps we may not return at all, at least together. 
One of us may be in the baggage car." 

" Oh, Ramie, for the love of Heaven do not speak in that 
way. If you have any love for me let me take your place 
to-morrow. I had rather die a thousand deaths than feel 
the dreadful gloom I do to-night," and I bowed my face upon 
the table, while my frame shook with emotion. 

" Why, Jack," said Ramie fondly, laying his hand on my 
arm, " you unnerve me. What have you to fear ?" 

" More than you, Ramie 1" I had a hundred fold rather 
face death than the remorse I must feel if anything happens 
to you." 

" Your youth and inexperience shrink from the responsi- 
bility of the position ; but look on the bright side and hope 
for the best. Now come, sit here by the fire with me, while 
I give you some directions about what I want done in case 
I . You understand." 

"Don't mention that horrid possibility, Ramie. I cannot 
bear it." 



SEA-GIFT. 229 

" Yes ; but it must be mentioned," he said, crimping a 
strip of paper between his thumb and forefinger, while he 
gazed pensively at the coals flickering their red horoscope 
deep in the grate. " If I fall," he at length said, " have my 
body brought back to town and carried to the hotel ; I do 
not wish to shock the feelings of your kind family by being 
brought here." 

" It shall go nowhere else," I replied, impetuously, forget- 
ting that the neuter "it" might grate harshly on his ear. 

" Then have a metallic case," he went on, without notic- 
ing my interruption, " and have it expressed to New Or- 
leans, telegraphing Mr. Dixon, our agent, to meet it and 
make necessary arrangements for interment. I expected 
my mother here soon, but I wrote her a few days since to 
remain in New Orleans till she heard from me again. I 
made my will yesterday, and had it signed and sealed, but 
there are a few articles of personal property I wish you to 
dispose of for me. My ring, with Lillian's and my own 
likeness in it, together with the box of trinkets and souve- 
nirs you will find in my trunk, please give to her ; my watch 
and chain send to my mother, and this I wish you to keep," 
and he placed in my hand a beautiful emerald cross, which 
he wore as a scarf pin. 

He gazed again for some time in the fire, and then looked 
up and continued : 

" And, John, write to mother and explain all the circum- 
stances and reasons of the affair — omitting, of course, the 
slight connection you had with its beginning ; and tell her 
that I die in the faith and communion of the Church, and 
in the hope of Heaven. I am speaking thus in case the 
worst happens. I trust, though, there may be no occasion 
for your carrying out these instructions. Now complete 
your arrangements and let's go to sleep ; I want to feel well 
in the morning." 

He retired to his room, which adjoined mine ; and having 



230 SEA-GIFT. 

occasion to go in there a few moments afterwards, I found 
that he was sleeping as peacefully as if on his mother's 
bosom. I could not sleep, but tossed from side to side in a 
fever of restless apprehension. 

About day I fell into a doze, from which I was awakened 
by father's tapping at our door and telling us it was nearly 
train time. I found DeVare already up and dressed, and I 
rose, and hurriedly, shiveringly, slipped on my clothes and 
went down with him to the dining room, where mother had 
prepared an early breakfast for us. 

" What time will you return ?" asked father, as we got 
into the carriage. 

" Don't look for us until you see us," I said, slamming the 
carriage door, and concealing beneath my shawl my case of 
Derringers, which Ellerton had agreed to use. 

A thought of coming back alone flitted like a raven of 
despair across my mind, but I shook it off and assumed 
cheerfulness. 

As we entered the boat I noticed Ellerton and Brazon on 
the forward deck, smoking with affected sangfroid. We 
sat down near the wheel house, and watched the paddles as 
they churned the bluish-green water into white foam, and 
rocked the little skiffs passing near, with refluent waves. 
Across the river a short dash on the cars took us over 
the line and into the little town of C . 

Here we hired hacks and drove out to the place Ellerton 
and I had agreed on — a picturesque spot, and one which 
Frank and I had visited when we were boys. It was a 
beautiful grass plat, of half an acre, lying between two hills, 
and bordered with a little gurgling branch. 

We had hardly gotten out and dismissed the driver for 
half an hour, when the other carriage drove up, and Brazon 
and Ellerton got out, and with them a surgeon from the 
town. 

We bowed to each other, and Ellerton and I stepped for- 



SEA-GIFT. 231 

ward to measure the ground. We divided the sun and 
shade as equally as possible between them, Ellerton exam- 
ined and loaded the pistols, and we arranged to place our 
men. Brazon was smoking with apparent indifference, but 
that it was assumed could be seen from the nervous, trem- 
bling way he would take his cigar from his mouth, and from 
the frequent yawns he made. DeVare was leaning against 
a tree in an abstracted manner, and started when I touched 
his arm. 

"All is ready, Ramie," I said, conducting him to the spot 
assigned him. " Here, take this pistol, be cool and aim 
well." 

He only looked at me and smiled, but said nothing. I 
told Ellerton he must give the word to fire, as I dared not, 
and I withdrew a short distance, and stood with uncovered 
head, breathing a prayer which I felt was a mockery. 

Ellerton raised his handkerchief while I quivered with 
suspense ; his voice rang out loud and clear : 

"Ready ! aim ! fire ! — one, two, three !" 

At the word "one" Brazon fired, his ball cutting the 
foliage a yard over DeVare's head, while the echoes rolled 
in solemn groans through the woods around. 

" After the word " three " Ramie raised his pistol and fired 
into the air, the smoke curling gracefully up towards Hea- 
ven, as if from the altar of a peace offering. 

We each ran to our principals. 

"Ramie ! Ramie !" I exclaimed, " this will never do; why 
on earth did you not fire at him ? I am afraid now he will 
want another shot, as he sees your harmless intentions. A 
shot pretty close would have frightened him off." 

"Perhaps you are right," he said quietly; "but then I 
might have killed him, and that is not my object." 

Ellerton now approached, and, bowing, said : 

"My principal claims another shot, as Mr. DeVare prom- 
ised him satisfaction." 



232 SKA-GIFT. 

" He can get it," said DeVare, before I could interpose. 

" He also begs," said Ellerton, addressing DeVare, " that 
you will do him the honor to fire at him, as he dislikes to* 
aim at one who preserves your peaceful attitude." 

" I shall do as I think best," replied DeVare, with so much 
dignity that Ellerton withdrew in some confusion. 

Again were the pistols loaded and placed in their hands, 
and again rang out those deadly words, " Fire 1 — one, two, 
three !" 

Brazon, who had become very nervous and excited, fired 
while the word " one " was yet on Ellerton's lips. DeVare 
gave a slight start, raised his pistol and aimed upward, 
then lowered his hand without firing, deliberately uncocked 
his weapon and dropped it beside him, then, closing his 
eyes with a sudden tightness, fell in a doubled-up heap to 
the ground. The heavy manner in which he fell, without 
regard to easing himself down, told me all. 

I ran to him, and raised his head upon my arm ; his eyes 
were still closed, and his face was pale as marble. He was 
drawing his breath in short gasps, at long intervals, while 
the blood was oozing from his lips, and trickling in little red 
streams down his chin and throat. The ball had entered 
below the right armpit, and ranged straight across toward 
the heart, and I supposed that internal hemorrhage caused 
the flow of blood from the mouth. 

" Ramie ! Ramie !" I called frantically, are you hurt much ? 
Speak to me, Ramie." 

His eyes opened feebly on mine, and with considerable 
effort he whispered : 

" I am almost gone, Jack." 

The surgeon now approached with his case of instruments, 
and tearing open DeVare's coat, vest and sh}rt, examined 
the wound. A round spot, closed up with blood and torn 
flesh, showed where the death messenger had entered, and 
rose and fell with every labored breath. He contracted his 



SEA-GIFT. 233 

brow as if in pain as the surgeon ran his probing wire in, 
but otherwise remained quiet and passive. The surgeon, as 
he drew his wire out and wiped it, put his mouth close to 
my ear and whispered : 

" He cannot possibly live more than ten minutes. If he 
wishes to speak, tell him to cough up the blood from his 
throat and take a swallow of this," handing me a small 
vial that contained some powerful stimulant, " the ball has 
severed one of the large arteries directly at the heart, and 
he must soon bleed to death." 

1 put my mouth close to DeVare's ear and said : 

" Ramie, do you wish to speak?" 

He opened his eyes languidly, and with a motion of his 
brow signified yes. I wiped his lips and put the vial to his 
mouth. He swallowed a little of the liquid, which seemed to 
revive him for a moment. He tightened his clasp on my 
hand and said feebly : 

" It is as I expected, John. Tell mother " but the 

flow of blood choked his utterance again. I again put the 
vial to his lips, but he turned his head away from it, and in 
a whisper said : 

" No, 'tis useless. Oh, my lonely mother, forgive me ! 

Dear Christ have mercy " A shuddering clasp of the 

white fingers locked in mine, a paler hue on the pallid face, 
and only Raymond DeVare's body lay in my arms. The 
great weight of impending evil I had so much dreaded had 
crushed down upon me, and I was almost senseless beneath 
the blow. I could not realize the fact, but sat in stupid 
wonderment, gazing at the lifeless features. Ramie, my 
fond, true friend, dead ! So full of life and activity but a 
moment ago ; now dead 1 Dead for my sake ; dead because 
I was insulted ; dead for a hasty word ; dead on the warrant 
of cowardly society, that would now shrink from the poor 
fool who killed him at its behest. Dead ! dead ! dead 1 

I leaned my cheek down on the forehead, already growing 
cold, and murmured, weeping like a woman : 



234 SEA-GIFT. 

" No, no, Ramie, you are not dead ? Speak to me, Ramie, 
one word, open your eyes ; one more look, Ramie ! 

The surgeon touched my arm and said : 

" The carriages have returned, as you ordered ; we had 

better get the body in and drive back to C , where you 

can telegraph to Wilmington for a case, and carry him home 
to-morrow." 

I rose from the ground, laying Ramie's head gently on my 
handkerchief, and calling the coachman we lifted him up and 
laid him as well as we could across the seats of the carriage. 

Ellerton and Brazon, who had been standing some 
distance on 7 , smoking and talking carelessly, got into the 
other carriage, and, bowing as they passed us, drove rapidly 
on to the station. The doctor kindly asked, as we drove 
slowly on, what I intended to do. 

" I don't know," I replied, vacantly. 

" If you will allow me to suggest a plan, I would say go 
to our little hotel here, get a room for to-night, and telegraph 
immediately for a metallic case, which will, perhaps, come 
out on the evening train. The undertaker will seal it up 
for you, and you can carry it in to-morrow." 

I thanked him for his kind advice, but told him that as I 
knew the conductors on the road I could take the body into 
the mail car with me till we got to Wilmington. I lowered 
the carriage curtains, and ordered the driver to go as close 
as possible to the track at the station and wait for the train. 
It was a very short time before the train came in, and I 
immediately sought out the conductor, who had known me 
since I was a boy, my father being one of the directors of 
the road. I told him my friend DeVare had been killed in a 
duel, and asked permission to carry the body in the mail 
car. He readily accorded it, and had the carriage driven 
close up to the door. But with all our precaution, quite a 
crowd gathered around as we lifted poor Ramie from the 
carriage and laid him on some cushions in the car. Some 



SEA-GIFT. 235 

one had heard me call his name to the conductor, and it 
passed from mouth to mouth that " a young man named 
DeVare was killed this morning near here in a duel, and they 
are carrying him home." 

The passengers in the coaches got hold of it, and I was 
very much annoyed by the impertinent yet natural curiosity 
with which one after another came to the door and looked 
at myself and the corpse. At last the whistle sounded, the 
train got under way, and I was free from interruptions. I 
leaned my face against a pile of mail bags, and gave way to 
miserable reflection. The present was too horrible to dwell 
on, and the future nothing but remorse and gloom. Re- 
morse that I had not prevented the fatal affair at all hazards. 
Remorse that I had not conquered pride and satisfied Brazon 
with my own apologies and explanation ; gloom that my 
prospects were blighted, father deceived, and angered into 
dislike of me, mother surprised and grieved beyond ex- 
pression, and Carlotta horrified into repelling me ; my 
career at the University, which I had resolved, after Lillian 
had discarded me, to make brilliant, now cut short in dis- 
grace, and my hitherto exuberant spirits damped by an ever 
vivid remembrance of the terrible tragedy, in which I had 
taken so large a part. Then I thought of the shock I would 
give them at home as I drove up to the door with DeVare's 
dead body, and as I fancied the faces of horror and words of 
reproach, I shrank from the ordeal. My bitter reflections 
were interrupted by a hand laid on my shoulder. I looked 
up and found the conductor standing by me. 

" There is a lady in the rear coach wishes to speak with 
you," he said, counting over some tickets he took from his 
pocket. 

" "Who is it ?" I asked, looking at him vacantly. 

" Don't know her. Perhaps she's some kin to you. She's 
a fine looking old lady, a little gray, sitting two seats from 
the back of the coach." 



236 SEA-GIFT. 

I begged that my friend might be unmolested, and made 
my way through the coaches to the last one. A lady was 
sitting two seats from the back, and the instant my eyes fell 
upon her I had to grasp the arm of a seat for support. The 
same noble features that were now lying so rigid in the car 
ahead ; the same dark eye that I had so recently closed 
with a sorrowing hand ! I knew in a moment it was his 
mother. I strengthened myself as well as I was able, and 
approaching her, bowed and said : 

" Did you wish to see me, madam ?" 

She looked at me earnestly, as she replied : 

" Pardon me, sir, but are you the gentleman whose friend 
has just been killed ?" 

" I am, madam." 

"I heard a gentleman, a few seats from me, say the unfor- 
tunate man's name was DeVare. As that is my own name, 
and I have a dear boy who has been at college in North 
Carolina, I felt a restless anxiety to know more, and ven- 
tured to intrude on your grief." 

I made no reply, and she continued : 

" It was a silly fear in me, I'm sure. It could not have 
been Kaymond, for he would have written to me." 

I still said nothing, for the simple reason I did not know 
what to say, and, after a pause, she asked : 

" What was your friend's given name, sir ?" 

Driven to a corner by her question, I made a stammering 
attempt to evade. 

" It could not have been your son, madam, I said, with 
evident confusion ; " my friend's name was Lionel." 

Ramie's full name was Lionel Raymond, but he always 
signed his name simply as Raymond. 

Her piercing gaze read my flimsy deception in a moment, 
f! nd. a quick pallor ran over her face, as if her heart had 
ceased beating for a while. 

" My son's name was also Lionel. Surely, sir, you would 



SEA-GIFT. 237 

not trifle with my feelings ? I must go into the front car 
and satisfy myself," she said, rising from her seat. 

" Madam," I said, putting out my hand to detain her, " I 
implore you to be seated. The train will reach Wilmington 
in a few moments, and you can then see for yourself. Heaven 
forbid that it should be your son 1" 

At this moment the conductor approached, gathering up 
the tickets for the last station. She called him to her and 
said, with an air of command it was impossible to resist : 

" I wish to go to the front car and look at the corpse 
there. You will go with me, sir ?" 

" I should advise you, ma'am, to sit still," said the con- 
ductor, snipping a hole in the last ticket he had taken ; " it's 
not a pleasant sight for a lady, and we'll soon get to Wil- 
mington any how." 

" I only wished your aid in crossing the platforms, but I 
will go alone," she said firmly, passing us both and walking 
rapidly up the aisle. 

I followed mechanically, feeling that nothing could add to 
the intensity of my wretchedness. I assisted her from car 
to car, till, passing through heaps of mail bags, we reached 
the end of the coach where lay the still form of Ramie, 
wrapped in my travelling shawl. She kneeled by its side, 
and, turning back the shawl, gazed for a moment on the pal- 
lid face, and then, with a shriek that often now rings in my 
ears, fell forward insensible on the breast of her dead child. 
The mail agent came forward, and we tried all the usual re- 
storatives without the slightest effect. No sign of returning 
animation responded to our efforts, and, making the best 
couch we could, we were about to lay her by Ramie's side 
when the whistle sounded for Wilmington, and the train 
drew up close to the boat that was to take us over the river. 
The conductor and the captain of the boat aided me so 
kindly that the body of Ramie and his unconscious mother 
were conveyed on board without attracting very much 



238 SBA-GIFT. 

attention. A carriage on the other side took us to the hotel, 
where I had concluded it was best to go since Mrs. DeVare 
had become unconscious. I ordered rooms, despatched one 
messenger for a physician and another for father ; then, 
without waiting for them to come, I left the hotel and 
walked rapidly homeward, for I began to experience very 
singular sensations hi mind and body — a tingling numb- 
ness, that deadened my extremities ; and alternations of 
sudden forgetfulness of all that had occurred, and vivid 
remembrance of it. I reached our door, and pushing it 
open, found Carlotta in the hall. She started at my hag- 
gard face, and exclaimed : 

" Oh ! John, what is the matter ? where is Mr. DeVare ? 
what has happened ?" 

"He is dead !" I said, with a vacant stare ; then, turning, 
rushed up stairs, heedless of her calls for mother. I man- 
aged to reach my bed, when I fell across it into a great 
black chasm of oblivion. 



CHAPTER XXYI. 

How strange those long days of insensibility now seem 1 
How mysterious that vague consciousness of unconscious- 
ness, when the mind closes all communication with the outer 
world, and lives in a state of semi-existence within itself ! 
All sight was gone, yet a dull gray blank pressed down 
upon my eyeballs — gray and dull, though invisible ; all 
hearing was gone, yet a singing sound lingered in my ears, 
as if a cap had been exploded near them ; feeling there was 
none, yet an undefined pain and sickness pervaded my sys- 
tem, like a dream of deadly nausea. A gap in existence, a 
chasm in thought and sense, known through the veil of an 
uncertain consciousness ! After a long while, as it seemed 



SEA-GIFT. 239 

to me, vague, uncertain shadows began to flit across this 
dull blank before my vision. Gradually, after many Sittings, 
they began to assume varying shapes ; and, as the form and 
features of a negative slowly come into distinctness as the 
photographer washes the plate, so these shapes began to 
show distinctly as familiar forms and faces. But oh ! how 
changed their expression ! Those whom I had thought 
loved me most now wore the blackest scowl for me, and, 
pointing at me, called me Murderer 4 Father, mother and 
Carlotta stood around me constantly, regarding me with a 
fiendish malignity and hatred. But among all the faces that 
passed before me there was one that never changed its posi- 
tion or expression — always directly before me, almost touch- 
ing mine ; a face with a stony glare from its fixed eyes ; a 
face with a snarl of hate on its white lips, from which bub- 
bled a froth of blood ; a face I could never escape, go where 
I would. I sprang over frightful precipices, I traversed 
burning deserts, I climbed rugged wilds, but everywhere, 
turning as I turned, that face was ever before me, freezing 
my blood with its hideous scowl. After awhile these visions 
became less distinct, and soon another blank succeeded, dur- 
ing which I one day unclosed my eyes and found everything 
familiar around me. 

The room was darkened and silent. The occasional 
clicking of the coals in the grate, as they powdered 
their red cheeks with white ashes, and the foot-fall of 
a passer on the pavement below, were all the sounds I 
could hear. I tried to raise myself on my elbow to make 
out what it all meant, but I had scarcely made the effort 
when some one rose from a chair at the side of the bed, and 
Carlotta's beautiful face bent over me, with an expression 
of anxious inquiry, as if she thought I was still delirious. 

"Where- — where have I been? How came I in bed?" I 
said, in a weak, drawling voice. 

" Oh } you are yourself again !" she exclaimed, with a cry 
of delight ; " let me run and tell Mrs. Smith." 



240 SEA-GIFT. 

" No ; stop ! Tell me what I am doing in this dark room. 
What is the matter with me ?" 

" You have been very sick/' she said, removing a wet 
cloth from my forehead, and wiping the dampness away ; 
"you have been delirious for more than two weeks. But 
the doctor says you must lie still and not talk." 

" But I will talk," I said, peevishly ; " I will know how I 
came here. Where are Ned and Ramie ?" 

A half distinct memory of the duel and its consequences 
flitted across my mind, but it was all so confused that it 
seemed some horrid dream, and in helpless uncertainty I 
turned my cheek over on my palm and gazed at Carlotta, 
imploringly. 

She stroked my forehead with her soft hand, and begged 
me to remain quiet, promising to tell me all I wanted to 
know as soon as I became a little stronger. Her touch and 
sweet voice were so soothing that I fell into a gentle doze, 
from which I soon awoke much clearer in my mind than 
before. And now a blighting remembrance of Ramie's death 
came over me, with such force as to nearly unsettle my rea- 
son again. 

Mother soon came in, and, by skilfully diverting my 
thoughts from the painful subject, managed to remove some 
of the shadows that clustered around me. 

Days lengthened into weeks before I was able to sit up, 
and how dreary would have been those convalescent hours 
had it not been for Carlotta ! She seemed to have no inter- 
est outside of my room. Her attention was never officious 
or too constant, and it was rendered with so much tact it 
seemed as if I was conferring a favor by accepting it. I 
was so sure it was a pleasure to her that I never refused 
letting her do whatever she would for me. She would sit 
by my bedside for hours reading or talking to me, seeking 
to divert me by all means possible from gloomy thoughts or 
sad reflections. So bright was the sunshine of her presence 



SEA-GIFT. 241 

that I was unhappy unless she were near me ; and however 
dreary I might be feeling, as soon as she entered, my face 
and heart would sensibly brighten. 

While she would never allow me to draw her into conver- 
sation about Ramie and his mother, yet I gradually learned 
the sad truth. After Madame DeVare was carried to the 
hotel every effort was made by the physicians to revive her, 
but in vain. The cataleptic stroke, induced by the shock 
she received, in spite of all their labor, proved fatal, and 
she and Ramie were buried together in the cemetery the 
same day. 

Then Carlotta would listen with such a pleasant, talk- 
eliciting interest to my stories of college life that I could talk 
with untiring volubility. In return she would tell me of all 
that had occurred at home since I had been away, with so 
much originality of expression and artlessness of narration 
that I would lie and gaze for an hour at a time on her 
faultless face. Occasionally she would lift her eyes from 
her needlework, and whenever they met mine I always 
looked away with a strange and unaccountable confusion. 

One day, in our talk, she asked me if Frank and I were 
still good friends. I told her no, and inquired why she 
asked. 

"Because Lulie has changed so in her conduct towards 
me. She has been very reserved and formal with me since 
you left, and rarely visits me." 

" Has Prank been paying her much attention this vaca- 
tion V I asked, taking a sip of the cordial that stood by my 
bed. 

"I have not had many opportunities for observing," she 
replied, driving her stiletto through a floss flower on her 
embroidery ; " but I have seen them together many times, 
and gossip says they are very much devoted. Perhaps it is 
at his request she has withdrawn her intimacy from me." 

"No doubt of it," I replied ; " she is perfectly infatuated, 

11 



2»42 SEA-GIFT. 

and he cares nothing whatever for her, except as a conquest 
to boast of. I heard him read one of her letters to a crowd 
in his room one night, and tell of liberties he had taken." 

Her dark eyes opened with a flash of indignant astonish- 
ment as she exclaimed, energetically : 

" And she trusts to such perfidy ! I'll warn her, if she 
spurns me, for we have been fond friends. But no," she 
added, after a pause ; "that would implicate you, and per- 
haps lead to another affray." 

" I don't care," I said, punching in the end of the pillow, 
as if it were Frank's head ; " tell her by all means. I would 
go to her myself, but she would think it was an invention of 
my own to supersede Frank in her favor." 

"I hear Mrs. Smith coming up stairs," said Carlotta, fold- 
ing up her work ; " and as it is late in the afternoon I'll run 
over to Dr. Mayland's and have a good long talk with Lulie, 
and get back in time to bring up your tea." 

" Bless your dear heart, how I love you !" I murmured, 
as I watched her tucking back the curtains and setting 
everything to rights ere she tripped from the room. I could 
not help instituting a comparison between her and Miss 
Carrover, and I could find only one point in the latter's 
favor : that she was a grown lady, who had seen much of 
society, while Carlotta was, to my college dignity, only a 
child — too often present for the romantic sigh, and too con- 
stantly near for the heart-throb when I met her. 

And, in thinking of Lillian, the faint shadow of a demon 
thought began to flit across my mind. The baseness of its 
ingratitude made me shudder as I shrank from it ; yet it 
gradually grew, ever lurking deep down in my heart, as it 
whispered, through the reveries of the day and the dreams 
of the night, " Lillian can love you now ; Ramie is dead." 

Deeply ungrateful as it was to the memory of my noble 
friend, I could not help looking forward with pleasure to 
my meeting with her ; when I could take her hand, and, 



SEA-GIFT. 243 

looking into her fond eyes, hear her say, " Nothing binda 
me now ; I am yours forever." 

I would then endeavor to plaster over conscience by imag- 
ining how fondly we would cherish together the memory of 
DeVare ; how we would pour our mingled tears upon his 
grave, and feel that his spirit was smiling upon our union. 
And I would endeavor to convince myself that I would be 
acting in exact conformity to the wishes of Ramie, could he 
express them ; and I would say a dozen times in a day, " I 
am sure Ramie had rather she would love me than another." 

A day or two elapsed and I was able to walk about the 
house before Carlotta had an opportunity of telling me the 
result of her visit to Lulie. 

She said that as soon as she mentioned the subject Lulie 
had gotten into quite a passion about it, and said she had 
parents to advise her, and that she was under obligations to 
no one else for advice ; that she would do as she pleased 
and take the consequences. 

" May heaven help her," I said fervently, as we changed 
the subject. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Xeo and I are again at Chapel Hill, in our old room. We 
found our books and furniture dusty, but undisturbed, and 
a day's preparation sufficed to get us in harness again. 

It was with great difficulty father had secured my re-ad- 
mission. His first application was peremptorily refused, 
but by many letters and pledges to the trustees and faculty, 
and in consideration of my youth and inexperience, I was 
at last allowed to go on with my class. 

For all this I had made extra resolves of diligence, and 
had promised father that nothing should divert me fron: 
intense application to my books. 



244 SEA-GIFT. 

Of Miss Carrover I thought but little. I had heard from 
Charleston, whither she had gone soon after the duel, that 
she was the gayest belle of its society. This disregard of 
what was due the memory of her betrothed, coupled with 
the gradually acquired conviction that my suit was hope- 
less, and a conscientious desire to do well in my studies, 
had somewhat impaired the romantic fervor of my admira- 
tion for her, and I heard with remarkable composure the 
statement that she would spend a week or two in Chapel 
Hill on her way to New York. I resolved at first not to sec 
her at all ; but, feeling that this was too great a confession 
of weakness, even to myself, and having, besides, in my pos- 
session the valuables DeVare had requested me to deliver 
to her, I determined to call just once, that I might mark her 
deportment before making up my final judgment on her 
character. Of one thing I was fully resolved, that whether 
she was gay or sad, whether kind and cordial or cold and 
distant towards me, no word or glance of mine should be- 
tray the faintest trace of the old love, or depart from the 
consistent seriousness of real bereavement. 

When I entered the parlor at Professor Z 's I found 

her surrounded by a throng of admirers. As she came for- 
ward to meet me, the same superbly beautiful woman I had 
once adored, her usual queenly air softened into one of 
kindest greeting, and gave me both hands in her warm wel- 
come, my heart bounded wildly, and for a moment I had 
forgotten Ramie, resolves, and everything save the rapture 
of being near her again — of hearing her soft, rich voice, and 
gazing into her dreamy eyes. The presence of other gen- 
tlemen restrained me, or I believe I should have knelt at her 
feet. 

Taking my seat in the circle, and dropping into a common- 
place conversation, I gradually regained my senses and my 
self-control. And as I became composed, and marked the 
levity of her conduct — the jest, the sarcasm and the repar- 



SEA-GIFT. 245 

tee — and then thought of the cold form in the cemetery at 
home, my admiration of her beauty was tinged with con- 
tempt for her frivolity. 

Her visitors began to depart, and I was about to say good 
night without having accomplished my mission, when she 
handed me a slip of paper, on which she had scribbled the 
words " Don't leave." 

Of course I waited, and we were soon in the parlor 
alone. 

As the last one closed the door she moved on the sofa 
and said : 

" Gome, sit by me. Oh, how tiresome those fellows are ! 
and I wanted to be alone with you so much. Now tell me 
all about yourself, for it has been a dreary, long time since 
I have seen you." 

" I thought you were aware, Miss Carrover, that I was 
connected with a most unfortunate affair at the close of the 
session," I replied, nervously twisting my watch chain, for I 
hardly knew what reply to make, and felt embarrassed and 
awkward. 

" Oh ! do not speak of that," she exclaimed, burying her 
face in her handkerchief, and trembling with very inaudible 
sobs. " I was trying to avoid that subject. My heart has 
been almost broken in its agony. Only in the past few days 
have I been able to compose my thoughts and feelings. Oh, 
the terrible shock of the announcement !" Her voice was 
so muffled by the handkerchief over her face that her words 
were almost indistinguishable. Far better could they have 
been lost in the cambric folds than to have vibrated into 
eternal existence ! 

The only reply I could make was to give her the casket 
containing Ramie's ring and jewels, as he had directed. 

She lifted her face, with eyes rather dry for such convul- 
sive weeping, and taking the casket pressed it to her lips, 
as she said : 



246 SEA-GIFT. 

" And did he think of me 1 Oh, how can I ever love you 

enough for your kindness to him !" 

I ventured to say, " Love his memory." 

" I do, I do," she replied, looking into my eyes with hers 
clear and tearless. " Heaven alone knows how I cherish 
the memory of my noble Ramie I" 

I did her the justice to believe her, but said nothing. 

She continued, trying to open the back of the watch : 

" But, my dear friend, for this mutual grief has made you 
seem nearer than ever before, there is one point on which I 
want your counsel. How must I act towards society ? 
Must I open my heart to its hundred eyes, and, by a sudden 
seclusion and retirement, reveal my sacred sorrow to its 
gaze ; or must I go through the hollow mockery of gaiety, 
and assume a cheerful face with an aching heart ? Gentle- 
men call every evening, and I am at a loss to know what 
to do. If I refuse to receive visitors it will cause remark 
and inquiry, and my engagement with Mr. DeVare will be 
made public, with all the usual train of disagreeable com- 
ment. I sometimes think it were best to do violence to my 
own feelings, and appear in company as if nothing had hap- 
pened, while I am here. I will soon be in New York, where 
I can adapt my conduct to my sad bereavement. Do you 
not think so ?" 

" Really, Miss Carrover," I replied, coldly, for the veil of 
her pretended sorrow was too thin, "I do not feel competent 
to advise you. You know best how the death of DeVare 
affects you ; and, if you wilV pardon me for saying it, your 
smiles and favors to the frivolous throng to-night would in- 
dicate that your course of action is already determined." 

" Oh, Mr. Smith, you blame me, I know you do, and per- 
haps I deserve it ; but you cannot appreciate my feelings. 
I did love Ramie devotedly, for he was the noblest and best 
of earth ; but no one knew we were betrothed, and to retire 
from society now would be only to reveal what he wished 



SEA-GIFT. 247 

kept secret. Besides, I will be candid enough to confess 
that I find the best cure for a sad heart in a round of pleas- 
ure, and, knowing that seclusion and manifested grief were 
not expected of me, I have sought to drown my sorrow in a 
whirl of frivolity." 

She paused, and looked at me for some reply, but, as I 
could make none but what would have offended her, I said 
nothing 

" I know serious people will blame me for this trifling," 
she continued, "but gaiety and pleasure are as much my 
element as the air I breathe. Those who know me will not 
cease to love me. And you, who once professed such devo- 
tion, now hate me, because I do not wear a widow's weeds ! 
Please do not desert me when we ought to become better 
friends ; love me still," and she laid her soft, beautiful hand 
on mine. 

Who could have resisted ? A moment before T was de- 
pising her heartlessness, now, at the electric touch of her 
hand, I was changed ; the old flame burst forth again with 
resistless fervor, and I could take her, heartless as she was, 
to be forever mine, only so that she loved me. I almost 
crushed her hand in mine as I pressed my lips upon it 
again and again. 

"Love you, Lillian ! . Heaven only knows how madly, 
how wildly I do love you. Only say just once that you love 
me, or bid me hope. I have never ceased to love you, Lil- 
lian, but your faith was plighted to another, and I crushed 
my heart into silence. But he who stood between us is 
dead, and, as God shall judge me, I have sorrowed sincerely 
over his grave ; but nothing now binds you ; you are free 
to love me if you will. Darling, darling Lillian, come to my 
heart and be its queen." 

I put forth my arms to draw her to my side, but she drew 
back and said : 

" No, sir, the change is too sudden. A moment ago there 



248 SEA-GIFT. 

was a look of contempt on your face — nay, do not deny it — ■ 
and now you would have me believe these wild protesta- 
tions of your phcenix-like love." 

There was a gleam of triumph in her eyes that told me 
she did believe me, and gloried in her wondrous power, but 
I was careless of everything save to be lord of her hand and 
heart. 

"Lillian," I said, gazing into her face with such intense 
earnestness that even her eyes fell beneath my gaze, " you 
once believed me ; will you doubt me now when I swear to 
you that I love you as no other man ever dared love you 
before — that I am willing to give up everything for your 
sake, even the memory of Ramie ? If that stands between 
our love, I will forget that he ever lived and forget that he 
ever died." 

I felt a shudder run from her frame into her hand as the 
harsh words fell from my lips, but 'twas only a shudder. 

" You are sure you mean what you say ?" she said, with 
a half credulous smile that irritated me, and a slight pres- 
sure of her fingers that soothed and made me hopeful. I 
waited for her to continue, and we both sat for a few mo- 
ments gazing into the glowing coals on the hearth before us. 
Suddenly, deep in the fire, where the heat was whitest, a 
dull red spot appeared, that seemed to rise and fall as if 
there was breath beneath it. In an instant I was again 
kneeling on the damp ground, with a white face resting on 
my arm, and pale lips bubbling blood as they bade me fare- 
well. It was as vivid as vision itself ; and after the eyes 
were closed by the surgeon's hand, I could still see the pale 
lips murmuring, " False ! False !" 

My hands and forehead grew cold as ice, and my heart, 
in its remorse, beat audibly, " False loving false ! False 
loving false !" My resolve was taken from that moment ; I 
would not be shaken from i'. by scorn or tears. I dropped 
her hand and, rising, said : 



SEA-GIFT. 249 

"Miss Carrover, I did mean all that I said; you know 
that I have loved you ; but forget it. Even if you could 
love me, which I dare not hope, it must not be — Ramie's 
spirit forbids it. Will you pardon what I have said to- 
night ?" 

She rose and stood before me, the personification of anger 
and scorn, her dreamy eyes now flashing, and her beautiful 
face flushed with her feeling. 

" Do you fear that I am going to accept your paltry love, 
that you hasten to retract it ? Not content with insulting 
me with your cant about what was due the dead, you have 
attempted a contemptible flirtation. To say that I saw 
through your pitiful design, would indicate that I paid some 
attention to your rhodomontade, which I did not ; but 'tis 
useless to waste further words upon you ; I can never suffi- 
ciently express my contempt ; there ! go, sir !" and with a 
gesture that would have graced Siddons she pointed her 
jewelled hand to the door. 

With a profound bow, I said : 

" Thanks, Miss Carrover, for the lesson of to-night. But 
before I take my leave permit me to remind you that you 

asked my adv " but she had swept magnificently from 

the room. 

The next evening, while strolling with Ned on the sub- 
urbs of the village, I met Miss Carrover riding in a buggy 
with Ellerton, who had not yet applied for re-admission to 
the University, but was staying with a friend. She looked 
confused as she passed us, and averted her head, while I 
turned and stared at them till they were out of sight. 

" Oh, Ramie, Ramie," I murmured, as we turned home- 
ward, " better to wed death than the false creature of thy 
betrothal ; better the worm at thy lips than her kiss ; better 
the sod on thy cheek than her Delilah-like caresses." 

11* 



250 SEA-GIFT. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

About the first of April I received a letter from father, 
saying that they had at last concluded to put in execution 
a plan that had been spoken of before I left home — namely, 
going to Europe while I was finishing my studies. They 
would go first to Cuba, where they would spend some time 
at Carlotta's home, and where father could attend to the 
management of her large estates. They would then sail 
directly for Liverpool, and spend two or three years in Eng- 
land and on the continent. I was to graduate at Chapel Hill, 
then go to Berlin or Heidelberg. 

I felt almost irresistibly impelled to write and ask per- 
mission to accompany them, but reflecting on it, determined 
to remain at Chapel Hill and study with renewed diligence. 

A second letter, some weeks later, informed me that all 
necessary arrangements had been completed, and that 
father, mother and Carlotta would be in Kaleigh on a speci- 
fied night, on their way to New York, to take steamer for 
Havana, and requesting me to meet them, to say good- 
bye. 

At the appointed time I met them, and while they were 
cheerful I could not help feeling sad at the thought of being 
left here alone ; but I bore up bravely under the disappoint- 
ment, and promised father that he should hear a good report 
of me. 

After tea he and mother walked up town to see an old 
friend, and Carlotta and I were left together. While she 
was affable and pleasant as possible, I could not shake off a 
silent moodiness, and she, to divert me, and to relieve our 
rather dull conversation, brought me a casket of jewels that 
belonged to her mother. They had been sent to her by the 
agent of Mr. Eurleston's estate in Cuba, and had reached 
her since I left home. There were antique rings and brace- 



SEA-GIFT. 251 

lets of most exquisite workmanship, there were diamonds 
that would have made Mahmoud of Ghisni envious, and 
pearls that would have equalled the Zanana. I was very 
much struck by the design of a pair of bracelets. They were 
made in Etruscan gold and were a pair of serpents with ruby 
eyes and emerald spots. They were made long, flexible and 
spiral, so that when clasped upon the arm they seemed to 
be gliding up the flesh. There was some long family history 
connected with them, which Carlotta related, but I have for- 
gotten its tenor. But the most interesting article in the 
casket was a beautifully enamelled locket, containing a pic- 
ture of her mother. When she opened it and I looked upon 
the face, I was perfectly entranced. Its beauty was of that 
radiant perfection that seems only to have existed in the 
conceptions of Vandyke or Correggio. It was perfect in 
every exquisite feature, yet its wondrous fascination lay in 
their combination. The lustrous, pensive eyes, the deli- 
cately curved mouth, the soft, olive complexion, the oval 
outline of her face, were all beautifully relieved by the rich 
mass of raven hair that fell in splendid profusion over the 
bare, smooth neck. 

Lillian's beauty depended greatly on her skilful adorn- 
ment, and her brilliant appearance was ever in debt to her 
toilet, but this face needed no cosmetic, its beauty was 
nature's gift, and art could only enhance it. 

It was my ideal, and my heart only withheld its homage 
because 'twas but a portrait. 

Looking up from it to address Carlotta, I was startled to 
find in her face an exact counterpart of the picture, only her 
features were childish and immature. Her beauty was the 
bud, this the perfect bloom. 

"Will she be like this when she is grown? Heavens! 
how I would adore her!" I thought, as I gazed from one to 
the other and marked the points of resemblance. 

I had ever regarded Carlotta as a pretty child, whom 



252 SEA-GIFT. 

everybody admired, but I had not thought of her as growing 
up into the perfect, lovely woman ; but now a strange inde- 
scribable unrest awoke in my heart, and I felt that I should 
be far more unhappy when she was gone than I had 
thought. 

While I had never, and could not then think of loving 
her, save as a friend and brother, yet the reflection that she 
was going away to forget me and perhaps to love another, 
was galling in the extreme to my feelings, both of pride and 
disappointment. 

" Carlotta," I said, handing the picture back to her with a 
compliment, and looking at her with a newly awakened 
interest, " I fear that amid all the splendor and novelty of 
the scenes through which you will soon pass, you will forget 
almost that I ever lived." 

"No, indeed," she replied, looking at me frankly, "there 
is no danger of that ; gratitude, if nothing else, will keep 
your memory ever fresh with me." 

" But you will be a grown lady ere you return, and will, 
I know, have many admirers. You will love some one of 
them, and I will be only a cipher in your past." 

" No, no, you have been too noble and good to me. Do 
you think me so base? Here !" and taking a pair of scissors 
from her box, she cut off a long curling ringlet of hair 
and put it in my hand, " keep that as my pledge that I will 
remember you every day while I am gone, and no matter 
when we meet again I promise to redeem it, as the same 
little Carlotta you have been so kind to." 

" Thank you, Carlotta, I will treasure it carefully," I said, 
folding it up with a strange thrill of pleasure for only a 
child's simple gift. 

Father and mother came back now, and after a few 
words of parting and some tears, I bade them good-bye and 
hastened down to the office, as I was to return to Durham's 
on the night train. 



SEA- GIFT. 253 

Oh. what a pleasure to me was that single lock of hair ! 

For days and months after they were gone a glance at it 
would recall her dear face in all its beautiful earnestness, as 
she so unhesitatingly pledged her remembrance. And now 
that she was gone — for years, perhaps forever — I found — 
yes, I will confess it — child as she was, I loved her. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

The session and a vacation in the mountains passed, I 
commenced my studies as a Sophomore, and under this 
new dignity fresh trials of my moral courage every day 
arose. I was constantly being solicited to join some scheme 
of devilment, and though my conscience always bade me re- 
fuse, the voice of the multitude often prevailed, and I was 
thus drawn into many an affair of which I was afterward 
heartily ashamed. 

Our class seemed determined to surpass all of its prede- 
cessors in annoyances to the Faculty, the derangement and 
often destruction of college property and the "devilling" of 
Fresh. One of the Faculty, whose views of discipline were 
rigid, and who could not brook the slightest disturbance in 
his room, was our special mark. Going into recitation we 
would load our pockets with gravel and acorns, and by 
dextrously throwing them over our neighbor's shoulder we 
would keep a perfect hail of them upon the floor, rendering 
recitation impossible. Sometimes a rat would be carried in 
and turned loose in the room, and every one would mount 
his seat in an apparent extremity of terror. Bugs, reptiles 
and even poisonous snakes were put on the floor, to run 
under the students' legs and cause a sufficient disturbance 
to suspend the lecture. 



254 SEA-GIFT. 

An attempt to " blow up " the professor was even made 
by placing a small quantity of powder under his rostrum ; 
which, indeed, came near being a much more serious matter 
than was intended. 

One morning, as Ned and I came out from breakfast, we 
were requested to go up to one of our classmate's rooms, 
where we found nearly the whole class assembled. The 
object of the meeting was, so we were informed, to consider 

the proposition to "dress" for L , the professor. To 

" dress " for a professor was to attend lecture in the most 
ridiculous and grotesque costume attainable, and had ever 
been regarded by the Faculty as the highest contempt for 
their authority, and an offence meriting extreme punish- 
ment. 

The proposition was warmly seconded and approved, 
there being only one dissenting voice, that of Ned. 

When the roll was called for the votes, he rose and said 
that, while he regretted to oppose himself to the class, yet 
the course proposed tended to defeat the object of their 
attendance upon the Institution, and was, therefore, wrong; 
that it was undignified and discourteous, and that he could 
not join them. 

Amid cries of " Bootlick ! order ! Cheyleigh, you're right ! 
silence 1" Ned took his hat and walked quietly from the 
room. 

When my name was called, poor, weak I, could only re- 
spond, " I am in for anything the class agrees on," while 
my heart was throbbing to follow Ned's example. 

When we assembled, at eleven o'clock, could Palstafif have 
seen us he would have thought his troop perfect dandies. 
Great, tall fellows, six feet high, appeared in coats whose 
sleeves scarce reached their elbow, and pants that were far 
above their knees. Little fellows had on clothes that 
smothered them, and which were stuffed out with pillows 
till Daniel Lambert would have been a skeleton beside them. 



SEA-GIFT. 255 

Others wore pasteboard collars, whose points extended far 
above their heads, while a whole window curtain of naming 
chintz served them for a cravat. Some had their clothing 
on wrong side out, and one man had reversed his entire 
suit, putting everything on hind part before. A few had 
gone to the trouble of getting up costumes from the stores, 
and appeared as demons and devils with most hideous faces, 
and horns, hoofs and tails. The most amusing character of 
all was a rare genius from the mountains, whom everybody 
knew as Joe. A man of brilliant ability and rare attain- 
ments, he was a great favorite with the Faculty, and yet, 
from his innate love of fun, he was ever getting into some 
difficulty. He was attired, on this occasion, in an immense 
swallow tailed coat of brown homespun, and tremendous 
copperas striped pants. He had gotten a pair of shoe-store 
signs down town and wore them for boots, the legs coming 
up nearly to his waist and the feet about a yard long. He 
wore a tremendous pair of green goggles, and carried around 
his neck a rusty old log chain, from which was suspended a 
large circular clock to serve as his watch. A turn down 
collar of white cloth extending to his shoulders like a cape, 
and a whole sheet crammed in his pocket as a handkerchief, 
completed his outfit. He was unanimously chosen our 
leader and we marched to the section room. The professor 
looked serious and was ominously silent till we were all 
seated. He called the roll with unusual gravity, and then, 
that the desired defeat of the recitation might not be accom- 
plished, commenced to examine the class ; but the attempt 
was futile. One would reply that he would answer the 
question as soon as he could get his voice up out of his 
collar ; another, that his pants were almost long enough 
and were stretching, and that as soon as they got past his 
knees he would take pleasure in telling all he knew. Joe, 
upon being called on, took out his clock with a great rattle 
of his chain, then drawing out his immense sheet, proceeded 



256 SEA-GIFT. 

to wipe his goggles with it, and then blow his nose as if it 
was a trumpet. The ridiculousness of this proceeding called 
forth such a laugh from the class that the professor dis- 
missed us in disgust, first summoning all of us to appear 
before the Faculty when the bell rang. 

Immediately on our dismissal we held an informal meet- 
ing in the campus and agreed to appear before the Faculty 
in our costumes. There was a wide stare of indignation 
and surprise on their faces as we filed into the room and 
took our seats. The professor preferred his charges, and 
the president, having called on each member of the board 
for an expression of opinion, asked us if we had anything to 
say in justification of our offence. No one spoke for several 
moments, and they were about to proceed with the case 
when Joe slowly rose to his feet and said in solemn tones : 

"Mr. President and gentlemen of the Faculty — I have 
somewhat to say in behalf of these my friends. Will you 
be kind enough to state what length of time you will allow 
me for their defence ?" 

He paused and waited a reply, looking as solemn through 
his great frog-eyed spectacles as if he was in the High Court 
of Chancery. 

" Speak on, Mr. ," the chairman replied, " we cannot 

entertain your nonsensical proposals for time, but we are 
willing to allow you to make any statement you wish, and 
to give any excuses you can for your conduct." 

" My friends," said Joe, turning to us, " do you hear that? 
Bear me witness, and see that they accord the full measure 
of their promise." 

So saying, he drew from under his coat the old clock, and 
taking the chain from his neck, he let it clatter with great noise 
on the floor, and laid the clock before him on a bench, after 
the manner of public speakers. He then carefully noted 
the time, cleared his throat, adjusted his specs and began : 

" Oh, most worthy Paishdadians, the early dispensers of 



SEA-GIFT. 257 

justice, in whom are centred the majesty of the Pharaohs, 
the wisdom of the Magi, and the dignity of the Conscript 
Fathers, both Roman and Sabine ! I would not detain you 
with useless words, but simply tell why we have appeared 
to-day in costumes which you, in the plenitude of your 
wisdom, have deemed offensive : 

"We are unfortunate young men, severed from the en- 
dearments of home and cut off from the paternal exchequer; 
no sewing sisters' love, no darning mothers' care ! Can 
you wonder that our wardrobes have suffered such consider- 
able depletion that we must make some changes orj'enew? 
As to renew was impossible, with remittances rarer than 
angels' visits, we wisely chose to change. 

" The apparent absurdity of these changes is at once ex- 
plained by their utility as well as their necessity. Permit 
me to enumerate a few, and point out their peculiar advan- 
tages. I have been, as you all know, of very studious 
habits ; consequently the abrasion of my sedes pantaloonorum 
has been constant. As concealment was no longer possible 
I exchanged with a smaller friend, whose shortness of leg 
will enable him to draw the trite orifices up beyond the 
reach of vision, while the brevity of his unmentionables 
enables me to preserve my respectability by the display of 
a new pair of socks, which I borrowed. 

" My fat friend here found that his garments were wear- 
ing out more on the inside than the out, and, consequently, 
exchanges with this starved anatomy, that the outside may 
catch up. He then squeezes into the lean man's suit, to re- 
duce his pinguisity. My reversed friend here," pointing to 
the man who had his clothes with the front turned behind, 
"has been suffering with a chronic crick till his head has 
twisted entirely around. With an energy worthy of Ithacus 
he has resolved to retrograde through life, rather than sub- 
mit to the tyranny of his neck and change his clothes ; 
hence his remarkable attitude and crawfish gait. 



258 SEA-GIFT. 

" The other gentlemen present have reasons equally good 
for the fashions they have adopted, and which this out-of- 
the-way place may deem a little outre. 

" This much, gentlemen, to show that my comrades, as 
well as myself, had cause for our conduct. But I see by 
the cold regard of your stern faces that you do not belieye 
me. If it were not for the consumption of your valuable 
time I could introduce witnesses to prove what I have 
stated, but 'tis useless." 

"Stop, sir!" exclaimed the president, "we have endured 
this farce long enough. Gentlemen," addressing the Faculty, 
"what are your opinions of the offence and its punish- 
ment?" 

" Sir!" said Joe, with a green, piercing glance, " you have 
promised that you would allow me to make my defence, 
and I claim the privilege." 

" Well, go on, sir, we cannot wait much longer." 

" I shall take my leisure," said Joe, stooping down to look 
at the face of his clock. " Well, I pass on to my secondly, 
then. My firstly was a statement of facts; my secondly 
shall be argument, and my thirdly, appeal. I do then emphati- 
cally deny to you the right of jurisdiction in our case. You 
cannot take cognizance, even, of our proceedings unless you 
make the University of North Carolina a tailor's shop and 
prescribe the fashions for its students. What right have 
the Faculty of a purely literary Institution to say what 
shall be the cut of my coat, merely because I am a matricu- 
late ? By what authority do you object to my clothing, so 
long as it is decent ? and I am sure none of my friends here 
can be accused of indecency of apparel. 

" If, however, you insist upon your right, by what 
standard do you condemn our appearance ? Do you know 
what the latest fashions are ? Have any of you seen a Paris 
paper this year, and are you certain that your information 
on these points is later than mine. If so, I cheerfully waive 



SEA-GIFT. 259 

the right to determine for myself, and submit to your direc- 
tion. But why multiply remarks ; if you can find us guilty 
of any infringement of the laws of the University, behold 
we are in your hands, to be dealt with after our sins, but we 
do protest against being condemned by some perverted con- 
struction of a remote rule. 

" And now we know, although you have no right, yet you 
will try us and condemn us. We throw ourselves upon 
your mercy. Oh! be tender with us. We are young and 
unsophisticated ; we are away from father and motherland 
some of us, alas! are orphans ; will you deal harshly with us 
simply for changing our fashion? Oh! ye who have sons, 
plead with those who have not, and obtain for us clemency. 
Do not, with puritanic bigotry, strain at a gnat of a garment 
and swallow a camel of cruelty. Oh have mercy ! Have 
mercy ! We have suffered the pangs of remorse, our bowels 
have yearned over our transgression and groaned for dinner, 
and we are ready now to get down upon our all fours and 
gallop out the door if you will only speak the word. Speak 
it — bohoo-oo! Spe-oo-ea-oo-kit !" 

He pulled his great sheet handkerchief out, and spreading 
it on the bench before him, buried his face in it and sobbed 
aloud. 

The Faculty did not smile, and we were too badly scared 
to laugh ; and so Joe raised his head soon and wiped his 
eyes, took up his clock and chain and put it on again, then 
leaned back as solemn and sad as Heraclitus. 

The President then rose, and without the slightest appre- 
ciation of Joe's effort, said : 

" Your conduct, gentlemen, has been considered by the 
Faculty in an impartial and unprejudiced manner, and their 
unanimous vote is that you be dismissed for an indefinite 
period. 

"The farcical character of your defence, delivered through 
your representative, and its absurd and contemptible con- 



260 SEA-GIFT. 

elusion, place it too far beneath our notice for any reply ; 
but I wish to say a word or two to those who have engaged 
in this affair thoughtlessly. There is a very mistaken idea 
among students generally that it is manly and courageous 
to resist constituted authority, and that such a course will 
gain for them a reputation for independence and spirit. 
They forget that in this resistance, and in the obstruction 
of recitation, they injure only themselves, and defeat the 
very end for which they have come to college. Resistance 
to tyranny is sometimes worthy of admiration, but here 
there can be no tyranny, for the same rights and protection 
are guaranteed the students as the tutor, and an appeal to 
the right source would prove a far more speedy and effective 
remedy than the course pursued. 

" Many of you joined in this shameful affair for the want 
of moral courage, and scarcely one of you really desired to 
enter into it. To those who originated the plot I would 
say, remember that those you persuade to join you suffer 
equally with yourselves, and your magnanimity will surely 
deter you from getting others into trouble ; and I would 
beg those who were led into this, in future to consider the 
certain result of their conduct ; disgrace and mortification, 
without a single point being gained. And I ask you all, 
does the paltry pleasure of raising a laugh, repay even the 
trouble of dressing, much less the shame each one feels or 
ought to feel? I hope that you will look at this question of 
deportment in its true light and act thereon. You have 
heard the sentence, gentlemen, and can retire." 

We sauntered from the room, and, once outside, com- 
menced a Babel of confused talk, which was broken up by 
our departing to our rooms to put on some decent apparel. 
I sat down and commenced to indite a letter to father, but 
found it impossible to write in the excited state of my mind. 
A~ wo had to leave the Hill in a few hours after our dis- 
missal, I began to pack my trunk. Soon after dinner, how- 



SEA-GIFT. 261 

ever, I learned that the members of the class who had not 
joined us, had gotten up a petition for our reinstatement. 
The Faculty required a pledge of future good behavior from 
each of us concerned before they would entertain the peti- 
tion at all ; and I found to my surprise that those who had 
been most anxious to get up the " dress," and who had 
been most violent in their outcry against those who refused 
to join them, were now the most solicitous of all that the 
petition should be signed, and were among the first to put 
their names to the pledge. There was one exception, Joe 
refused to sign anything or in any way recognize the right 
of the Faculty to condemn us. He declared he would stand 
by the principles set forth in his speech, and nothing could 
move him from it. In spite of his frolics he was a great 
favorite with the Faculty, and several of them went to him 
privately and endeavored to persuade him to sign the 
pledge. He thanked them, but firmly declined, and next 
morning took his departure. We all gave him three cheers 
as he drove off to Durham's, which he returned by waving , 
his handkerchief till he was out of sight. 

True old Joe ! The last tidings I had of him were that, as 
Colonel in the Confederate army, he had refused parole at 
Appomattox and gone to the Dry Tortugas. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

The Spring session opened with pleasant prospects for us all. 
I was conveniently situated for study, and resolved to make 
the most of my opportunity. The great college office in those 
days was Marshal for the commencement exercises. Even early 
in the session those interested commenced to electioneer for 
their respective favorites. Frank was one of the candidates, 



262 SEA-GIFT. 

and in the race for popularity his demagogical spirit was 
wonderfully successful. He had never had much to do with 
me since the death of DeVare, but he now seemed deter- 
mined to renew our old intimacy. 

As he fully possessed the art of making himself agreeable, 
and hiding his cloven foot, I enjoyed some very pleasant 
hours with him. 

He was even confidential with me ; said that he was en- 
gaged to Lulie, and that she loved him very devotedly, but 
th at he had not quite made up his mind yet. 

" And when do you expect to marry her ?" I asked one 
day, when we had been talking about her. 

" Marry, did you say ? Ha ! ha ! that is a good one. 
Marry, the devil ! Why, you do not suppose that I am in 
earnest with her, do you ?" 

"You ought to be, if she loves you, as you say she does, 
and as I believe," I replied, with indignation in my tone. 

"Well, perhaps I am," he said with a careless laugh; 
" without boasting, she is certainly infatuated with me, and 
I — I love to be with her, hold her hand and clasp her 
waist, and all that sort of thing, but whether you call that 
love or not I do not know." 

" Why, you do not mean to say you have gone as far as 
that ?" I asked, in surprise, for I had never supposed that 
Lulie, with all her infatuation, would permit such liberties. 

" Umph ! I should think I had ; and I count myself 
deucedly fortunate ; for it isn't every day a fellow kisses 
such lips as hers." 

" Frank, you shock me." 

■'Do I ? Oh, Lulie is very prudent, with every one else ; 
but you see with her betrothed she feels a little freer. By 
the way, John, how did you make it with Miss Carrover ?" 

" I had a pretty fair game," I replied, cautiously, for I did 
not wish to. be communicative. " Did you try your hand 
there ?» 



SEA- GIFT. 263 

"Only a little/' he replied ; "a stolen kiss or two and a 
half squeeze was all I got from her. Ellerton had it out 
with her though." 

"You surprise me," I said. "I thought she was very 
chary of her favors." 

" Chary, the devil ! I could tell you of a dozen men in 
college who were engaged to her. She lived on flirtation. 
'Twas reported that you were swamped terribly. They say 
you were the only one in earnest." 

"Those who say so know nothing about it," I replied 
warmly, for I was nettled at his words. 

" Well, well, no offence I hope ; but, changing the subject, 
you will come to my supper, Friday evening, will you not? 
I'll take no refusal. There will be a select company, and we 
cannot do without you." 

He was so urgent in his invitation that I finally consented 
to attend. 

As I started to the supper room Friday night, Ned said, 
in his kind way : 

" Do not drink much, to-night, John. It is hard to count 
one's glasses in the midst of so much hilarity." 

" Never fear for me," I said, gaily, as I ran down the stairs. 
Frank had secured rooms down town, and on reaching them 
I found the company all assembled. There were Markham 
and Bolton, two Seniors, to contribute dignity ; Trickley, a 
Soph., who was brimful of song ; Ellerton, who was con- 
sidered a wit ; two or three others whose names I have for- 
gotten, and last a little Fresh named Peepsy, who was so 
exceedingly verdant that Frank had brought him down as 
a butt for us. I shook hands round and bowed stiffly to 
Ellerton, whom I had not spoken to since the duel. 

The time before supper was laid was, as is always the 
case, dull, the Seniors discussing Mill and Say, Vattel and 
Montesquieu, as if the fate of the nation depended on their 
opinion, while the rest of us addressed each other in short 



264 SEA-GIFT. 

sentences after long intervals of silence. At length a ser- 
vant announced that supper was on the table. We passed 
through a folding door, and gathered around a table that 
was really groaning beneath its massive load of delicacies. 
Frank had ordered the supper from Richmond, and Pazzini 
had excelled himself. After the usual chair scrapings, waiter 
trippings, plate turnings and comic graces, some of which 
were shockingly irreverent, we got to work. With some 
flow of conversation and a laugh at Peepsy, who called 
Swiss Meringue a syllabub sandwich, we came to the re- 
moval of the cloth. 

I had determined, on my way thither, not to touch wine 
unless courtesy compelled it, but now, as I caught the con- 
tagion of hilarity, and found that what I said was applauded 
and listened to — dangerous flattery — a reckless spirit of 
conviviality seized me, and I threw restraint to the winds, 
resolving to have a " good time" for once. Conscience had 
withdrawn into a corner of my heart, and revelry held its 
carnival. 

The green seals were broken and the amber fluid bubbled 
in our glasses. 

I drank one as we toasted Frank, another after his reply, 
and the third at a compliment to myself. 

As the glasses were large, and I was unused to more than 
half a glass at a time, I felt what I had imbibed glowing 
over my system. A warm flush came into my face, and the 
mercury of excitement went up several degrees. 

After we had exhausted all the cut and dried toasts, and 
all the studied things had been said, we were thrown back 
upon our own originality. Markham then proposed that we 
sing the old song of Vive la Compagnie, toasting each other 
in turn, while the man who was toasted must reply by a 
distich of the song. 

Ellerton immediately rose with a brimming glass in his 
hand and said : 



SEA- GIFT. 265 

" A good idea, Markham, and to commence I propose, 
gentlemen, Mr. Smith, the block on which Miss Carrover 
sharpened the blade of her coquetry." 

I felt the blood surge to my temples and a harsh retort 
rise to my lips, but I controlled myself, as the chorus paused 
for my reply, and sang : 

" The block will be happy to sharpen a bit 
"What so much needs edge, as the gentleman's wit." 

Amid cries of Good 1 good ! we drank again, with a noisy 
" Vive la, vive la, vive 1' amour !" 

Others were then proposed, and with each toast my glass 
was filled. And now the first effects of the wine began to 
be felt. I became conscious of a slight unsteadiness of 
vision, and found that when I attempted to look at any ob- 
ject my eyes went past it like the pendulum of a clock, then 
went back again, so that I had to move them several times 
before I could concentrate on what I wished to see. Even then 
my sight was not very clear, for the lamps had misty rings 
around them, and when I reached out my hand for my glass 
I had to make an effort or two before I could touch it. The 
table, too, seemed to have a wave or elevation in the middle, 
and the wall on the opposite side of the room was not ex- 
actly perpendicular. My consciousness, too, was an unreal 
consciousness, as if I were dreaming of all these surround- 
ings, and this uncertainty of vision somewhat confused me 
in ideas and actions. Remembering how much wine I had 
taken, a sudden fear came over me that I might be a little 
intoxicated, and with the thought an intense desire to con- 
ceal it. The best way to conceal it, I said to myself, is to 
talk on and convince them that nothing is the matter with 
me. Markham was sitting next to me and I resolved to 
speak to him of Lillian, for I was afraid that Ellerton's re- 
mark had produced the impression on his mind that I had 
been jilted. 

" I say, Mis'er Mar'c'um," I said, leaning much more 

12 



266 SEA-GIFT. 

heavily on his shoulder than I intended, " you did'n think I 
loved Lill'yun the most, did y'r ? Ellert'n was only jok'n. 
B'cause I got's much's she did in that game. Umph ? Don't 
you think so. Umph ? Say, don't you think so ? Umph ?" 

"Who the devil is Lillian?" he said, turning a red face 
and bloodshot eyes upon me. " Hold up. Trickley is going 
to sing." 

"All right," I said, pushing myself up from him ; "just's 
you say; I'll tell you 'bout it again." 

I saw Trickley indistinctly on the other side of the table 
and heard him sing something about 

" The world is all an ocean and the people are the fish, 
The devil is the fisherman and baits us as we wish ; 
"When he wants to catch a boy he baits with sugar plums, 
When he wants to catch a man he baits with golden sums," 

and closing my eyes to relieve them of the misty light I 
dozed in a half sleep with my head upon my breast till I 
was awakened by the applause at the conclusion of Trick- 
ley's song. 

"H'rah!" I shouted, a little louder than any one else, 
smashing my glass as I brought it down upon the table. 

" Com mere, Jim," I said, beckoning to the waiter who 
stood near me, " brush off these glass, and hold me up and 
sweep under me. D'you hear ?" 

Negro-like he was full of laughter at my condition, and 
snickered outright as he swept off the fragments of glass. 

" Who're you laughing at, you scoundrel? Umph?" I 
said, boiling over with rage, and seizing a goblet which 
Markham barely caught in time to save. 

" I declare, sir, I wasn't laughing at all, sir," said Jim, 
frightened at my anger. 

"You're a lie, aint you? I say, aint you a lie? Mark- 
ham, lend me your pist'l." 

Markham Was just drunk enough to do it, and handed a 
Sharpe's four-shooter, but the negro had fled from the room, 



S'EA-GIFT. 267 

while Frank and Ellerton took the pistol away from me. 
Seeing how much intoxicated I was, they told me the poor 
negro had no idea of laughing at me, and that I had hurt 
his feelings very much, and ought to beg his pardon. 

"Bring him in and I'll do it ;" as I spoke he came in again 
with some cigars, and I called him to me. He had not lost 
all of his recent fright, however, and hesitated about coming 
any nearer. 

"Why don't you com mere, Jim. I'll throw a chair at 
you 'f you don't come," I said, making an effort to rise. At 
length he drew near enough for me to touch him, when I 
threw one arm around his neck and said, with half sobs : 

" I beg your pard'n, Jim -, I won't hurt you. Are you 
'fraid of me ? Umph ? I love you, Jim, b'cause you're all 
right, aint you ?" 

The others pulled me from him, and told him to get on 
the other side of the table. 

" No ; I want Jim to com mere. I know what I want ; 
you all don't know what I want." 

"No, no, Smith, let Jim alone. Here, take a cigar," said 
one or two, offering a case. 

" No ; I want Jim. Jim's all right," I said, looking 
sleepily defiant, 

" Wait till after supper," said Ellerton, " then you can see 
him. It's your time to give us a song now." 

" Th — hat's all right, Ellerton ; you'll help me sing, won't 
you ? Now, I'm going to sing : 

" Then fill up your glasses — and your tumbler 'sand your goblets, 
And drink to the health of it — all up and ask — for more " - 

" Oh, we've had enough of that, Smith. Sing us some- 
thing, or we will have to try Peepsy, here," said Trickley, 
who had been trying to make Peepsy say something all the 
evening. 

"Vive la 1 vive la compagnic !" I sang, winding up with 
a hiccup. 



268 sea-gift. 

"Smith, that's stale, and boring as the devil," said Eller- 
ton ; "hush ! and let us hear the Fresh sing." 

I was too stupid to make any reply, but made out to hear 
poor little Peepsy protest that he knew but one song 
in the world, and that was a hymn. But they would all 
take no refusal, and swore that unless he sang it they would 
tie him and leave him in the street all night, a threat he 
implicitly believed. I was almost in a second doze when I 
heard his little, quivering voice, as he sang : 

" I love to steal a while away," etc. 

A song learned at his mother's knee rendered in a drunken 
carousal I Poor little fellow, he was not in fault ! 

Ellerton now proposed that we light our cigars and go up 
to the campus to have some fun. 

The Seniors said it was too undignified for them, and took 
their leave, and little Peepsy begged so hard we let him off. 

When I rose from my chair the floor seemed to rise in 
waves before me, and, attempting to collect my senses and 
steady my feet, I fell, and, striking my head against the 
table leaf, lay unconscious till they carried me out. The 
fresh air revived me somewhat, and we staggered on with a 
noise and tumult that called several others from their beds 
to join our plans, which were to bar the doors, tar the 
benches and put a cow in the belfry, if possible. 

Drunk as I was, I recognized in the accessions to our 
crowd the lowest men in college — fellows that I never spoke 
to, and who were evidently surprised at my plight. But it 
was no time for proud reserve, and so I led the way, shout- 
ing every few steps : 

" Come on, boys ; we're all right, ain't we ?" 

We procured some tar and smeared on all the benches in 
the accessible rooms, barred the doors and then went up to 
the belfry, which we burst in to get to the bell. While a 
part staid to ring it others went down to look for a cow to 



SEA- SIFT. 269 

bring up. I sank down on the steps in a stupid sleep, with 
the thought piercing my drunken brain like a sword, "I am 
disgraced for ever. My parents will be mortified and my 
friends desert me." 

I was awakened by a terrific noise near me, and some 
one's stumbling over me. 'Twas some time before I could 
see what was the matter, but at length, by a dingy lantern, 
I saw students above me with ropes in their hands. The 
ropes were tied to the horns of a cow that was standing 
with glaring eyes and frightful bellowing a few steps below 
me. I was too much frightened to move, and with great 
relief heard Frank reply to some one who suggested to run 
over the fool : 

"No, no; that's Smith. He's all right. Help him up, 
Donnery." 

The person addressed caught me by the arm and gave me 
a rough jerk that landed me on the top step, from which I 
managed to crawl off to one side out of the way. 

'■' Now for it !" exclaimed several voices below ; " pull, 
Donnery, you and Haggam pull." 

They seemed to strain and tug at something without effect, 
and Haggam said, with a long breath : 

" What makes her so devilish hard to move ? She came 
up the lower flights very well." 

" She got scared of that drunken fool on the steps," 
I heard the coarse voice of Donnery reply, and, intoxicated 
as I was, I breathed a solemn vow to Heaven that I would 
never merit that term again. 

Drawing the ropes tight again, Donnery shouted to 
Frank : 

" Twist her tail, Paning, her I that will move her." 

" I have," said Frank, " and she won't budge." 

" Let me get hold," said a great rough fellow standing by 
him, and, taking the vaccine caudal in his two hands, he 
gave it such a wrench that, with a horrid roar, the poor 



210 SEA-GIFT. 

creature clattered up the steps, her hoofs sounding on the 
wood as if the building were falling. Once on the floor, 
they drove her on to a lecture room, and nailing up the 
door, left her there. Having finished this job they dispersed, 
Frank calling out good night ! to me as he passed. I heard 
some one tell him he had better see to me, and heard him 
reply carelessly : 

" Never mind, he rooms on this floor, Cheyleigh'll find 
him," and my vow gained all the more strength from his 
neglect. 

I had just sense enough left to try to find my room, and 
was trying to totter to my feet, when some one took hold of 
my arm and said : 

" Mr. Smith, let me help you. Are you hurt much ?" 

It was little Peepsy, who roomed on the same floor, and 
whom I had laughed at so, at Prank's supper. He kindly 
endeavored to assist me to walk, but I was too drunk to make 
any progress, even with his assistance, so I sat down on the 
floor while he went to call Ned. A dizzy sickness came over 
me, and I essayed to lean on one arm to steady myself, but my 
elbow doubled under me and I fell over heavily on one side, 
bruising my forehead against the hard plank. The only 
consciousness left was a sense of shame, and I murmured, 
" What would father and mother say if they could see me 
now." 

A light appeared at the farther end of the corridor, and 
I saw Ned approaching. A last tinge of pride made me 
desirous to seem less intoxicated "to him, and, as he came up, 
I called out, trying to raise my head : 

" Hel-lo-old fellor, Pm all right ; I want t'go t'me room, 
Ned. Where's se key ?" 

Ned did not make any reply, but with Peepsy's aid got 
me to our room and assisted me to bed. 

I had scarcely tumbled lifelessly upon it before I was 
asleep. 



SEA-GIFT. 271 

When I awoke all was still in the room, the sun was 
shining very brightly out doors, and looking at the clock 
on the mantel,. I saw that it was nearly twelve. Oh 1 the 
torture of that awakening ! 

My whole body seemed to be scorching in horrid flames, 
and my tongue and throat cracked with the heat, while a 
raging thirst consumed me. Yet I was so weak and feeble 
that had water been near me I eould not have stretched 
forth my hand to touch it. 

But physical suffering was nothing to my mental torture. 
My instability of character, my broken resolves, my ridi- 
culous and disgraceful conduct, my wreck of all pretensions 
to moral character, the surprise and pain of my friends, the 
sneers of my enemies, and my own consciousness of degra- 
dation, all crowded upon me till I felt that my disgrace was 
irretrievable. 

With a sigh of relief I heard the bell ring, and put a stop 
to the train of my remorseful reflections. 

Ned came in, with a kind smile on his face, and, at my 
whispered request, gave me a goblet of cool, fresh water. 
How intensely delicious it was ! Better far than the amber 
Chian or red Falernian, mellowed by years in the vaults of 
Mecaenas, the pure, harmless beverage God hath brewed for 
His creatures 1 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

Apologizing for the prolixity of my last chapter on 
drunkenness only by the hope that a recital of my own 
ridiculous behavior may induce some slave of Bacchus, 
who may recognize any part of the account as familiar, to 
renounce his allegiance and be free, I invite my readers to 
take another skip with me. 



212 SEA-GIFT. 

A year has passed and it is Commencement week. I am a 
Junior, while Frank is to graduate. 

Since his defeat, last year, for Marshal, he has gone 
rapidly down, till he has lost all moral and social position 
in college. He is drunk nearly all the time, and has gathered 
around himself a crowd of low associates, that place him 
almost beyond the pale of recognition. We have had very 
little intercourse since his defeat, though I have recently 
desired to notice him more out of pity than anything else, 
because so many others cut him. His brilliant mind, in 
spite of his dissipation, still achieves something in his 
studies, and it is thought he will get one of the honors in 
his class. 

The Saturday before Commencement he surprised me 
very much by coming to our room with an open letter 
in his hand, and saying : 

"John, I have just received a letter from Lulie. She and 
one or two of the Wilmington girls are coming up to, our 
Commencement, and, as I will be busy in speech making 
and graduating, I must beg you to help me out in attending 
to them." 

"It will give me great pleasure to do so," I replied. 
" What day will they get here ?" 

" On Monday," he said, looking at the letter. " I believe 
you have not been to Wilmington since your father left, but 
you used to know all these ladies. You must introduce 
some fellows to them, so they will have a pleasant time." 

" Of course I will ; but take a seat, Frank, you have not 
been in my room before in a long time." 

" No, thank you, I have an engagement at twelve." 

He left the room, and I sat for some time in unpleasant 
reflection. If Lulie came to Chapel Hill, and received atten- 
tion from Frank and his set, she would be put down as 
second class, and my circle of friends would hardly wait on 
her, even at my request. Knowing her high social position 



SEA-GIFT. 273 

at home, I knew that Dr. Mayland, as well as herself, would 
be deeply mortified when they knew the character of her 
associates, if she visited Chapel Hill under Frank's auspices; 
on the other hand, if I went to her and warned her when 
she came she would regard my information as a fiction of my . 
prejudice against Frank, and despise me for it. Yet I felt 
sure he did not love and respect her, for only a day or two 
before he had said, when I asked if he were going to be 
married after Commencement, that he was going to see 
something of life first, that Lulie would keep for a year 
or two yet without spoiling, and that, even if she did prove 
false and love another, he had about tired of her. 

After thinking over the matter I determined to wait and 
see whom Frank introduced to her, as his own pride might 
induce him to select companions suitable to her refinement 
and culture. 

Going to the post-office that afternoon I received a letter 
from father, dated at London, saying that they would start 
the next day but one for the United States. They would 
land at Halifax, and come through Canada to Niagara, 
where they would wait for me to join them as soon as my 
college exercises were over. He spoke of the wondrous 
beauty of Carlotta, now that she was a woman, and said 
that fortunes and honors in profusion had been laid at her 
feet, but that she had refused all, and he did not think her 
heart had yet been touched. Her cousin, Herrara Lola, a 
young Cuban of rank and fortune, had joined them at 
Madrid, and had been travelling with them ever since. He 
was coming South with them to spend the summer and 
autumn, returning to Havana in the winter. 

" And your mother and I fear," continued he, " that when 
he leaves he will take away with him our beautiful Car- 
lotta." 

I closed the letter with a great aching restlessness in my 
heart. Lose Carlotta ! I had feared it ever since I had told 

12* 



274 SEA-GIFT. 

her farewell, but my heart had not dared to acknowledge 
even to itself the possibility of such a loss. As I had 
received letter after letter telling of her ever increasing 
charms of person and character, I had longed with a great 
■ m desire to see her once again and tell her how I loved her far 
more than any other dared to love, a desire made all the 
stronger by its utter hopelessness. And I had taken out my 
little ringlet each day, and, kissing it tenderly, wondered if 
she kept her pledge and ever thought of me. As I had 
learned the past winter of her successful debut in society, 
and her numberless triumphs, I felt that my hopes were for- 
ever fallen. She would return now puffed up with pride 
and conscious of superiority, while I would only appear to 
her as a rustic younger brother, whom she would be 
ashamed to exhibit to the arrogant Herrara. 

" I won't go to Niagara," I said, savagely, crumpling the 
letter in my hand; " they will all look down on me now, and 
even father and mother will think I lack polish, after their 
European tour, for travel invariably breeds conceit." 

I took up my Herald to divert my thoughts, and running 
my eyes over its columns, saw the following among the 
marriage announcements : 

" Marshman — Carrover. At the residence of the bride's uncle, Mr. 

Isaac T. Carrover, No. Fifth A.venue, by the Rev. Dr. Deeler, assisted 

by the Rev. Mr. Prynn, Hon. Palmer Marshman, M. 0. for the — th Con- 
gressional District, to Miss Lillian Carrover. No cards." 

Poor Marshman, thought I, the rose leaves are plucked, 
only thorns for thee 1 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

When Frank and I entered the parlor of the hotel, after 
sending up our cards to Lulie and the other ladies from 



SEA-GIFT. 275 

Wilmington, we found the room full of company. Strange 
faces among the ladies, and familiar faces among the stu- 
dents, were grouped on every side. All were bowing 
smiling and talking in the most eager and interested 
manner, as they filled their dancing cards with engage- 
ments for the ball, or brought forward friends to be intro- 
duced. We had only to wait a few moments, when we 
heard light footfalls and the rustle of dresses on the stair- 
way, and the next instant Lulie and her two friends came 
into the room and greeted us cordially. 

What a fairy vision of loveliness was Lulie ! Her ex- 
quisite figure, as petite as Titania's, perfect in the bloom of 
womanhood, a vine-work of brown ringlets clustering around 
her shoulders, a sparkle in her bright eyes, and a roseate 
hue on her dimpled cheeks 1 The same beautiful being I had 
once adored, though more perfect now in her bewitching 
loveliness ; the same cherry lips I had kissed before the 
nursery fire ; the same roguish glance that had so often 
brought my heart into my mouth, as our eyes met across 
Miss Hester's school room, and the same silvery laugh that 
I had thought was the sweetest music in the world. A 
tinge of sadness came over me as I bowed over her hand 
and thought of what might have been. 

We passed a half hour very pleasantly, talking about old 
times and scenes, and making engagements for the festive 
occasions before us ; but oh! what a yearning desire I felt 
to shield her from all possible harm, as I marked her fond 
looks turned, so often and trustfully, towards Frank's 
bloated though still handsome features. 

I was to escort her that night to the "Fresh" Declama- 
tion, and when we walked up the brilliantly lighted aisle of 
the chapel, which was thronged with the beauty of the 
State, I saw many a look of intense admiration directed 
towards the little fairy on my arm. Next morning a score 
of my friends came to ask the favor of an introduction, so 



216 SEA-GIFT. 

that Lulie held quite a levee down at her hotel, though each 
one who called asked me in some surprise afterwards, how 
she came to be so intimate with "that fellow, Paning." 

Frank carried her that night to the " Soph." speaking 
and I could not but feel ashamed for her, as I marked the 
looks of surprise and coldness on the faces of my acquaint- 
ances, who, I felt sure, to a certain extent, classed her by 
her escort. After the speaking we had a little hop in the 
ball room, and I noticed she remained in the room only a 
short time, dancing one or two sets with Frank's friends, 
men whom Dr. Mayland would have ordered from his parlor. 
I felt it was my imperative duty to advise her of it all, but 
I was so sure that she would attribute all my counsel 
to prejudice against Frank, and despise me for it, that I 
hesitated and delayed. 

Next morning, while I was lying across my bed, enjoy- 
ing the perfumed breeze that floated up from the flowery 
campus, Harrow, a friend and classmate, came in and sat 
down by me. 

" Say, Smith !" he said, shading a match with his hands 
to keep it from being blown out, and speaking on each side 
of his cigar, " is that little beauty who was with Paning last 
night a friend of yours ?" 

" Yes," I yawned ;" " why do you ask ?" 

"Because if she was anything to me I would either whip 
Paning or carry her away from here." 

" Why ? What do you mean ?" I asked, rising up on 
one elbow. 

" Well, well," he said, tossing the match out of the win- 
dow, " it's none of my business, perhaps ; so let it be." 

"No, but you must tell me, Harrow ; what have you 
seen or heard ■? The young lady and I at one time were 
great friends, and I still esteem her very highly, though she 
has not liked me much since that scoundrel Paning has 
taken possession of her heart. But I will do everything 



SEA-GIFT. 2TT 

I can to serve her now. What do you know about them ?" 
I rose up and sat by him on the edge of the bed. 

"Paning does not respect her much, does he?" he asked, 
blowing smoke rings in the sunlight. 

" No, that's just it. She believes him to be the purest 
and best under Heaven, and trusts him blindly, while he, a 
villain, is trifling with her, and keeps her love only because 
he is proud of it. If he respected her he would not obtrude 
his polluted presence on her. But tell me, Harrow, what 
you know about her," I continued ; " if you wish, I will 
keep secret all you confide." 

" The deuce, no," he said quickly ; " I do not care for 
Paning. I would tell him about it myself, only I have no 
right to interfere." 

" Speak on, Harrow ; what is it ?" 

"Well, for one thing, the very fact that she receives 
attention from such fellows as Paning and Donnery has low- 
ered her in the estimation of your acquaintances ; and then, 
even during the short time she has been here, those low fel- 
lows have originated enough scandal about her to damn a 
dozen women at the social bar." 

" No ! Harrow, you cannot mean that ; I have not heard 
one word against her." 

" Of course not," he said, smoking vigorously ; "nobody 
speaks of it before you." 

" She's as pure as an angel," I said, indignantly. 

"I believe she is," he replied, lolling back oh the pillow ; 
but if she allows Paning to carry her into the company he 
does, she will not be thought so by others. Last night I 
had no lady with me, and, getting tired of dancing, I went 
up into the library, which you know was lit up for prome- 
nading couples. When it was pretty late, and everybody 
had gone down, I took down a book, and, reclining on a 
sofa in one of the alcoves, began to read. I had not read 
far before Donnery and another low fellow came into the 



218 SEA-GIFT. 

library, each with a lady, or I had better say woman on his 
arm. They made some show of looking at the books and 
paintings, and while thus engaged Pairing and Miss Mayland 
came in. She was leaning on his arm with an air of devo- 
tion and confidence I have never seen equalled, and they 
were speaking in soft, loving tones. Donnery met them, 
and, in his coarse way, introduced his companions. After 
some noisy conversation, full of slang and rude jest, they 
agreed that the hop was a bore, and Donnery said he would 
go down to Muggs' and get some wine if they would wait 
and drink it in the library. They all assented except Miss 
Mayland, and I distinctly heard her ask Paning to see her 
home ; but he vowed she must not leave yet, and she re- 
mained, though I knew from her silence that she felt out of 
place and ill at ease. When Donnery returned they took 
the librarian's table and made a gay party around it. 
Though I could not see them, I knew that Miss Mayland 
was blushing at the songs and toasts that passed around ; 
and I inferred, by Paning's calling out in a loud tone, ■ No, 
not yet, Lulie,' that she was again begging him to leave. 

" Harrow, did all this really occur as you have described 
it ?" I asked, in indignant astonishment. 

" It did, upon my honor," he replied. " Several ladies 
and gentlemen, on coming to the library door and seeing 
who were in there, turned back down stairs, and soon after 
I left myself." 

" I'll tell her of it to-day," I said, throwing off my slip- 
pers and drawing on my boots. "Paning must be the veri- 
est villain alive to take the woman he loves, or pretends to 
love, into such company." 

" He certainly did so," said Harrow ; and, as I said before, 
I heard much comment this morning from those who saw 
Miss Mayland with such a set." 

When he rose to go I thanked him for coming to me with 
the information, and begged that he would explain and 



SEA-GIFT. 279 

apologize for her presence in the library with Donnery and 
company to those whose opinion I valued, and whom he 
might hear allude to it. 

During the day I was engaged so that I could not procure 
an interview with Lulie, and, much to my regret and annoy- 
ance, I saw her walk in the Chapel in the afternoon on Don- 
nery's arm, while his coarse face was lit up with an expres- 
sion of triumph as he took his seat " among the high up 
ones," as he said in a loud whisper to one of his friends 
leaning in the window. 

That night the ball was to come off ; and, as I buttoned 
my kids, and gave the last adjusting pull to the waist of my 
"spike," I resolved that, as soon as I had paid the required 
courtesies to the lady I was going with, I would seek Lulie, 
and, whether it offended her or not, give her my last warn- 
ing against Frank. 

It was with difficulty I found her amid the throng that 
swayed and surged through the ball room. She was in 
rather a retired corner, receiving very little attention from 
any one. She had few engagements or none for the dance, 
and her usually bright face wore an expression of weariness 
and mental pain as I approached. She welcomed me gladly, 
and accepted my proposal to stroll in the campus with 
eagerness. The avenues were lit up, as there was no moon, 
and strolling down one of these, we turned aside to a rustic 
seat beneath a large oak. It was a quiet and secluded 
place ; even the music in the ball room sounded soft and 
indistinct across the maze of shrubbery. 

The opportunity was now mine, but I shrank from my 
duty. She would not appreciate my motives, I was sure, 
and would repel my counsel with scorn and indignation. 
Yet could I suffer Frank to betray her into imprudences 
that would tinge the purity of her character? Could I per- 
mit his villainous designs, palpable to all eyes but hers, to 
go unexposed ? Could I see her threatened with evil she 



280 SEA- GIFT. 

would not suspect till it was too late to avert it, and not 
warn her ? No, however thankless my task might prove, for 
the sake of her dead mother I would tell her of her danger. 

" Lulie !" I said, after some moments of silence and reflec- 
tion on my part. 

" What is it, Sir Solemnity ?" she replied, looking into my 
face by the dim light of the distant lamps. 

" I wish to speak to you on a very important and delicate 
subject, and I want you to promise me that you will believe 
my motives pure and disinterested in so doing. Do not fear 
that I am going to renew the fishing scene of our childhood ; 
I know too well that my love is hopeless. Let memory 
sleep ; 'tis of the present now I wish to speak ; and I want 
you to take off your glove and put your hand in mine, and 
if in what I am going to say you believe there is one single 
word prompted by aught save the most sacred friendship, 
instantly withdraw it, and I will say no more." 

She undid the lace-edged kid with a slight tremor in her 
fingers, and, dropping it heedlessly on the ground, laid her 
little hand confidingly in mine. 

"There is my hand, John," she said, "but you really 
frighten me with your solemn preface." 

" Well, then," I replied, with an effort at a smile, un- 
heeded, perhaps, in the darkness, " to come directly to the 
point, do you love Frank ?" 

I felt a quiver in her fingers as she said : 

" Dear John, do not be offended, but we must not talk on 
that subject. I know what you would say, but 'tis useless ; 
I cannot believe you." 

" But, Lulie, perhaps you do not know how important it 
is that we should speak on this subject. Will you answer 
another question, then ? Do you believe that Frank loves 
you ?" 

She drew her head back with the merest touch of pride, 
and said, with a tinge of steel in her tone : 



SKA-GIFT. 281 

" Yes, I do believe he loves me, because he has proved it 
in a thousand ways ; and I do not fear to answer your first 
question. I do love him with all my heart. There ! that 
confession is unladylike, but I make it to you alone." 

I bowed in acknowledgment and continued : 

" Pardon me again, Lulie dear, for pursuing my cate- 
chism. You were in the library last night V 

" Yes !" 

" Do you know the character of those to whom Frank 
introduced you, and with whom he forced you to spend an 
hour ?" 

She made no reply, but I could feel her hand growing 
cold as the blood left it for her burning cheeks. 

"Do you know the social and moral position of those 
men he has permitted to wait on you since your stay here ? 
Do you know how he speaks of you to others? Dearest 
little friend, though you hate me for it, I must warn you. 
Frank does not love, does not even respect you. He only 
retains your love as a trophy of his power. As God knows 
my heart, I have no motive but to save you. Will you 
heed me, Lulie ?" 

She drew her hand quickly from mine, and, covoring her 
face, remained silent a long while ; then putting it back in 
mine, she said, with a sad earnestness I can never forget : 

" I do not doubt the sincerity of your motives, John ; but 
your words are wasted. Frank has loved me too long and 
too fondly for me to desert him now at your bidding. 'Twas 
naughty of him, I know, to carry me into bad company, but 
he did it thoughtlessly, and I forgive him for it." 

" But, Lulie " I interposed. 

"No; let's not speak of it any further. You cannot 
know how strangely sad I feel. A great gloom has fallen 
on my heart, which, indeed, has been hanging over it since 
I came here ; and oh — I do so want to lean on mother's 
breast and cry. Dear John, I shall ever love you dearly for 



282 SEA-GIFT. 

your kind interest in me," and before I could prevent it she 
lifted my hand to her lips and kissed it ; " but you are mis- 
taken about Frank, I know that he loves me, and God 
knows that I love him, and will trust him even to death." 

We rose from our seats, but instead of returning to the 
ball room, she asked me to see her to the hotel, where I 
bade her good night and came back up the campus. As I 
passed by the seat we occupied, something white in the 
darkness caught my eye, and on picking it up I found that 
it was her glove, which she had dropped while we were 
talking. On taking it to the light I found that some one, 
in passing, had trodden upon it, and ground it into the 
damp earth, soiling it hopelessly- 

" Heaven grant it may not be a type of her life 1" I said 
fervently, as I laid it in my bosom. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

I concluded, after all, to go North. What if father, 
mother and Carlotta had travelled while I was studying in 
a quiet little village ? I felt equal to them in learning, and 
resolved that I would be in manners and polish. 

I spent a few days in New York, which was very dull, as 
everybody was off at the summer resorts. With a pretty 
heavy draught on father's bankers, I filled a trunk or two 
with the latest styles and started for Saratoga, where I 
would spend a few days before joining our family party at 
Niagara. 

Having paid the hackman as much again as his legal fare, 
and having seen my trunks checked through, I took my seat 
on a stool at one side of the already crowded deck of the 
Hudson river boat, which was steaming and hissing at the 



SEA-GIFT. 283 

wharf like a chained griffin, and gazed, with the interest of 
novelty, at the scene before me. The long forests of masts 
and yards, with here and there a graceful flag or long 
fluttering streamer ; the busy, fussy tugs, running hither 
and thither like noisy gossips, coughing and sneezing with 
bad colds ; the patient jades of ferry boats, with their 
anxious human cargo, hardly waiting for the dropping of 
the chains ; the ocean steamer looming its dark hull in the 
offing, and curling its black festoons of smoke on the morn- 
ing sky ; the white sailed skiffs leaning gracefully from the 
wooing wind, and the small row boat which a bare-armed 
sailor is sculling right under our prow, his blue jacket lying 
on the seat behind him, and the motion of his body, as he 
rocks from side to side, slushing the water about in the 
bottom of the boat, and wetting one sleeve of the jacket on 
the seat ; the anchored ships, here and there, looking like 
immense laundries, with their rigging and sides covered 
with the clothes of the crew, all made me forget for a 
moment my own existence, till I was aroused to a con- 
sciousness of it by a shrill voice piping in my ear, " Herald ! 
Times ! Tribune V 

Having bought a paper, I turned round on my stool and 
commenced to read. People continued to crowd in ; a 
hoarse whistle from our boat, or some other, I could not tell 
which, a few taps on a very hoarse bell, and with a shiver, 
as if the water was cold, we glided from the wharf. 

I had read, perhaps, half a column when the rustle of a 
dress against my crossed feet attracted my attention, and I 
peeped under the edge of my paper. It was a very hand- 
some black silk, and, being caught up over my foot, showed 
a beautiful bootee beneath it — an interesting bootee of purple 
glove kid, with a dainty high heel, and a firm curving in- 
step — a bootee tapping the deck carelessly, as if about to 
execute a pirouette on its flexible toe. Standing against the 
silk dress, close to the bootee, was a pair of boots — large, 



284 SEA-GIFT. 

dignified boots — with broad heels and thick soles, and com- 
ing down over their flat insteps were black pant legs. Lift- 
ing the edge of my paper a little I came in sight of the skirt 
of a black cloth coat, and hanging down by the skirt of the 
coat was a large white hand holding a morocco travelling 
bag — the hand of a middle aged man, white on the fingers 
and near the thumbs, and shaded with dark hairs on the 
side toward the little finger, on which was an onyx seal 
ring with P. M. in monogram. I knew the bootee belonged 
to a pretty woman, and the boots and hand to an intelligent 
elderly man, and to confirm my surmisings I took down the 
paper with a rattle and looked up at them. The lady turned 
her head and looked down at me the same instant. 

" Why, Mr. Smith ! is it possible ?" she exclaimed. 

" Miss Carrover 1" I said, rising and blushing. 

"Mrs. Marshman, sir. Mr. Marshman ! an old friend of 
mine, Mr. Smith, of North Carolina." 

Mr. Marshman, a frowning man, with heavy gray brows 
and a grayer moustache, gave me his hand and a " glad to 
know you, sir." 

" Let me make you acquainted with our party," said Mrs. 
Marshman, turning to two ladies and a gentleman, " Mr. 
Finnock ! Mr. Smith, Miss Sappho Finnock ! Miss Stelway 1" 

I made my obeisance, and, completing the usual common- 
place remarks, " took in" the party. 

Mrs. Marshman, as beautiful as ever, but a trifle more ma- 
ture and less dashing; Mr. Marshman, as above described ; 
Mr. Finnock, a pale young man, with very blue eyes and 
very red lids, and light mossy side whiskers ; he was ex- 
quisite in style and supercilious in demeanor, and very 
much devoted to Miss Stelway, a dark skinned young lady, 
with a short upper lip and very large front teeth, who 
looked at everything on the river with an opera glass, and 
whose conversational powers seemed limited to the constant 
jeaculation of: 



SEA-GIFT. 285 

" See there, how pretty !" 

She was rich, though Finnock's attentions may have 
been disinterested. 

Miss Sappho Finnock was a little lady, not very young, 
with thin, sandy hair, which she plastered, classically, 
around her forehead, and wore in wiry little curls around 
the back of her neck. Her eyes were as blue as her 
brother's, and were "near" in their sight, so that she wore 
circular gold-rimmed glasses, that magnified her eyes ludi- 
crously when seen through them. She wore fawn gauntlets, 
and her fingers, when she drew off her gloves, were thin 
and bluish towards the ends. Her waist was straight from 
her arms to her skirt, and her neck long and corded. She 
was constantly taking notes in a gilt-edged book, and peep- 
ing at me sideways under her glasses, as I sat by her, which 
I did most of the way up the river. She opened her eyes a 
little wider whenever she spoke, as if she was surprised at 
her own voice, and spoke with a sudden quickness and a 
little jerk out of her head, as if she wanted to throw the 
words at you. I soon found that as Mr. Marshman would 
not give up Lillian, nor Finnock Miss Stelway, Miss Sappho 
Finnock was to be my companion for the voyage. I was 
not displeased, for she was entertaining for her very senti- 
mentality, and was not disposed to laugh at any ignorance 
of the world I might betray, or any social solecism I might 
commit. 

In reply to Mrs. Marshman's inquiries, I informed her that 
I was going first to Saratoga to spend a few days, thence to 
Niagara, where I would meet our family, just returned from 
Europe. At the mention of Europe, Finnock and Miss Stel- 
way regarded me with more interest, and Miss Finnock 
increased her smiles and side glances. 

We all talked together for some time, when Mr. Marsh- 
man left us to go to his state room, Lillian took a novel from 
the morocco bag, and Finnock and Miss Stelway going to 



286 6EA-GIFT. 

the railing to lean over the water, nothing was left for Miss 
Finnock and myself, but to walk to the prow of the boat 
and take a couple of vacant seats that were there. 

" I always think of the Culprit Fay when I pass old Crow 
Nest," she said, arranging her skirt. " Are you not fond of 
poetry ? I am, passionately." 

" I enjoy poetry very much," I said, not knowing how 
tame +he reply would sound till I had made it 

" I declare I almost cry when I think of that dear little 
Fay cleaving the waters to catch the crystal drop, while the 
great monsters swarm after him. What do you think is the 
roipst descriptive line in the poem, Mr. Smith." 

" Confound Rodman Drake !" I muttered to myself, for I 
had not read his poem, having scarcely touched anything 
save my text-books since I had been at Chapel Hill. Fortu- 
nately, I remembered a lecture of our Professor of Rhetoric, 
on American poetry, in which he had quoted from the poem 
in question ; I therefore replied, pausing as if to consider : 

" Really, Miss Finnock, the whole poem is so full of vivid 
descriptions and striking thoughts that it is hard to make a 
selection ; but I think perhaps the finest passage is that 
which describes the firefly steed flinging a glittering spark 
behind." 

" Ah, yes," she replied, " I remember that. But I think 
the tiniest, sweetest idea is, ' their wee faces giggling above 
the brine.' " To express the tinyness of an idea, she squinted 
her eyes painfully, and squeezed her forefingers and thumb 
together, as if she were holding a flea. 

" To tell the truth, Miss Finnock," I said, hoping to take 
her out of her depth and thereby change the subject, "I 
greatly prefer the old classic writers, or even the earlier 
English poets, to the maudlin sentimentalists of the present 
day." 

" Oh, you prefer the classics, do you ?" she exclaimed, 
brightening her dim looking eyes, " then I am glad we are 



SKA-GIFT. 287 

congenial. Homer is too nervous in his style, but Pindar is 
so sweet ; and Sappho — do you know I am named for her ? — 
isn't her poetry rapturous? and dear Horace, how pointed 
and terse he is. Do you know I have studied harder than 
anything his Art of Poetry, for I sometimes try to write 
verses myself. Did you ever write poetry ? It is really 
difficult. And you say, too, you like the old English poets ? 
How glad I am 1 I have a copy of Chaucer in my trunk, and 
we can read over some of his Canterbury Tales together. 
Then there's Spencer; isn't his Fairy Queen perfectly charm- 
ing ? And Sydney's Arcadia, do you like that ? Sometimes, 
when I am sad and gloomy, I even like to read the melan- 
choly musings of poor John Ford. You've read Ford, have 
you not ? and Marlowe ?" 

Great Heaven ! thought I ; take her out of her depth 
indeed 1 I have only taken her into it. My only hope to 
change the subject, and prevent an exposure of my igno- 
rance, is to speak of her own verses, as I know she will not 
quit that theme as long as I appear interested. I said, 
therefore, as soon as she ceased speaking, 

" You say that you write verses, Miss Finnock ? I am sure 
they are lovely ; and I would esteem it a very high honor 
and privilege to be permitted to read your composition." 

" Oh, I could not think of it," she said, with an attempt 
at a blush ; " besides, my portfolio is in my trunk, and there- 
fore inaccessible." 

I protested my readiness to go below and have her trunk 
opened, that I might satisfy my desire to read her beautiful 
thoughts, and I insisted so earnestly that she would give me 
her keys and permit me to search, that she said, while she 
thanked me for my obliging spirit, she would not trouble 
me any farther than to get her reticule from Mrs. Marsh- 
man, for, if she was not mistaken, she had in that some 
verses on the Hudson that she had composed the summer 
before. 



288 SEA-GIFT. 

Of course I was delighted to bring it to her ; when she 
opened it and took out a yard and a quarter of printed 
poetry, which she commenced to read, first making me 
promise, a naughty boy, not to laugh at anything in it. 

She read the entire yard and a quarter with heaving 
bosom and unusually dilated optics ; but I cannot inflict 
upon my readers more than an inch or two. 

The theme of the poem was the launching of the first 
steamboat, and in her eyes it seemed an epic fit for Virgil. 
The lines were these : 

THE HUDSON. 
" Oh thou mighty, sweeping, rushing river, 
Through thy cloud-reflecting bosom grand, 
"With unfledged wheels the first steamboat proud- 
Ly plows, while on its trembling bulwarks stand 
The gay, triumphant and prophetic crowd." 

" Oh, that is perfectly enchanting," I exclaimed, when she 
had completed the ninety-third and last verse, feeling as- 
sured that, when she thought so highly of the effort her- 
self, no commendation could be fulsome. 

" Pardon the abrupt praise, but Mrs. Browning could not 
have expressed the idea of the untried wheels more strik- 
ingly than you did, by the single word ' unfledged.' " 

" You flatter me, indeed, sir," she said, looking immensely 
pleased; "but, to be candid with you, I thought myself that 
the expression was original and effective. Can you imagine 
how I got such an idea ?" 

" Not unless the fairies brought it to you," I said, gal- 
lantly. 

"I was at Yonkers last summer, while composing this 
piece, and saw a young duck, with unfledged wings, learn- 
ing to swim, and immediately I thought of the steamboat. 
Kemarkable coincidence, was it not ?" 

" Very remarkable, and all the more striking from that 
very fact," I replied. 



SEA-GIFT. 289 

"But the most striking stanza in the poem," she con- 
tinued, running her little thin fingers down the paper, and 
pinching it at a certain verse, "is the sixty-eighth. Do you 
remember it 1" 

'■■ They are all stamped so indelibly on my mind, by their 
wondrous power and beauty, that I cannot distinguish 
them by mere numbers ; but I can easily recognize it if you 
will read it again." This I said leaning forward with an 
increased air of attention and interest. 

" There is no merit about the lines, except that they con- 
vey to the mind a vivid impression of the circumstances," 
she said, with a preparatory cough, and read : 

" And should a comet from the starry sky- 
Fall with its fiery tail along thy bed, 
Oh ! what a yawning, cracking chasm dry 
Would stretch from parched mouth to fountain head." 

" Miss Finnock 1" I said, rapturously, " you are as daring 
as Milton in your conceptions. Even Dante does not sur- 
pass the appalling picture you draw. I can almost see the 
long, rugged chasm down which the ships are rolling over 
and over, snapping off their masts, the fish floundering in 
the steaming pools, while the red serpent of desolation winds 
its way down the hissing bed." 

I did not deem it necessary to correct her astronomy by a 
hint at the nebulosity of comets, or at the absurdity of the 
idea that a tail, ten millions of miles long and half as many 
broad, could be squeezed into the channel of the Hudson. 
I could only admit to myself that if the tail of a comet was 
red hot, and small enough to fit the river, her picture of the 
effect of its fall was graphic. 

She thanked me with many blushes, and as I paused in 
my comments she folded up her poetry reluctantly, and re- 
turned it to her reticule. As the bag opened I saw a book in 
it, and my respect for her erudition, before which I positively 
trembled as she ran through the names I have mentioned, 

13 



290 SEA-GIFT. 

was considerably lessened as I recognized Spalding's Eng- 
lish Literature, and felt that her learning was " crammed." 

As I felt as confident in my smattering as hers, I talked 
more boldly, and we spent the morning in a conversation 
on literature that would have made Porson envious at our 
attainments. 

When dinner was announced our party had a private table 
in the saloon, and I was embarrassed to find that Mr. Fin- 
nock and Miss Stelway were regarding my table deportment 
as if that was the Shibboleth on which they would cut or 
notice me. Miss Finnock, however, kept me more employed 
in attentions to the outer woman than to the inner man, so 
that I got on very well, except pouring her glass too full of 
wine and making too loud a sip when I tasted mine. 

Mr. Marshman had invited an elderly gentleman to dine 
with him, and was so absorbed in a political discussion that 
he completely ignored my presence ; indeed, he seemed to 
forget that there was any one present except himself and 
his patient listener. 

Mrs. M. was much annoyed by his neglect of his guests, 
and wasted many nods and frowns on him. As he paid no 
attention to them she spoke to him : 

" Mr. Marshman, pass the claret to Mr. Smith." 

But she might as well have addressed the post of the 
saloon, for Marshman was at that moment closing his most 
forcible argument in favor of his assumption. 

" Mr. Marshman !" exclaimed Lillian, a flush on her cheek 
and a flash in her eye, " do you know where you are ? Mr. 
Smith's glass is empty." 

" Oh ! — yes — pardon me, my dear," turning with a con- 
fused smile to her, and anything but a smile to me as he 
ran my glass over with the crimson fluid. 

For a while there was an awkward pause, during which I 
felt very much embarrassed, as having been the innocent 
cause of the disturbance. 



SEA-GIFT. 291 

Mrs. M. soon resumed her smile, and said : 

" Mr. Marshmaa thinks he is on the floor of the House 
whenever he gets to talking, and forgets his surroundings." 

" Well, my dear," he said, pouring out a glass of brandy, 
" Excuse my absent-mindedness. Come, Mr. Debait, since 
they will not let us finish our discussion, we will have to 
join the young folks." 

Mrs. Marshman gave him a sign to notice me, and he 
said, in a patronizing, Congressional way : 

" What are the times in North Carolina, Mr. Smith ? 
Whom will your people support in the next Presidential 
election ?" 

I was informing him that, as a student, I had not taken 
much interest in politics, when Mrs. M. cut in : 

"Mr. Marshman, you ought to observe Mr. Smith very 
closely. He is the only one who ever really flirted with me." 

" Is he ?" returned Mr. Marshman, trying to keep his good 
humor, though evidently disliking me. " What did / do 
with your heart ?" 

" You flirt ? Oh, life !" and Lillian laughed scornfully, 
as she looked around at us all. " I was afraid I was get- 
ting a little passe, and just took you when you proposed, 
which you did, you remember, with much agitation and 
tremulous fervor." 

We all smiled, as was expected, except Mr. Marshman, 
who only drew his bushy brows a little nearer together. 

Lillian went on (as what woman will not when she is 
succeeding in a tease ?) 

" You know, Pam, I put you off indefinitely ; and, strange 
to tell, I received your first letter the very night Mr. Smith 
and 1 came so near loving. If he had talked differently 
then, perhaps the answer you received would have been dif- 
ferent. You really owe him thanks." 

But Mr. Marshman, instead of taking the jest, grew very 
red in the face, and, pushing his chair back, said, angrily : 



292 SEA-GIFT. 

" You can make the change now, madam, if you desire 
it," and left the saloon. 

We looked at Mrs. Marsh man, but she was not in the 
least disconcerted. 

" Poor, dear Pam," she said, running a spoon under the 
peel of an orange, " he loves me so dearly that he is 
morbidly jealous. I'll hare him pleasant by tea." 

Miss Finnock occupied the remainder of the hour by 
making original remarks and comparisons, if similes with- 
out a shadow of similarity could be called original. She 
said the nut crackers were like adversity, because their 
crushing discovered the sound fruit ; that Italian cream was 
like a coquette's cheek, both pink and cold ; that the heart 
of the melon was the heart of humanity, and the black seed 
black thoughts ; that the lemon floating in the finger bowls 
was like the selfishness that mingles with the purest waters 
of life ; and much more to the same effect. 

As Finnock preferred Miss Stelway to the wine, we left 
the table with the ladies, and going up on deck I excused 
myself for my siesta. 

As I turned over to the cool side of my pillow, and slid 
back the shutter to get the river breeze, I murmured as I 
dozed off : 

" If little Sappho won't get in earnest I'll make love to 
her, just for the fun of it." 

Late in the afternoon we all met again on deck, and, to 
my surprise, Mr. Marshman was by Mrs. Marshman's side, 
full of smiles and urbanity. I could not help thinking of 
Themistocles' chain of government. 

Miss Finnock was unusually sentimental, and her style 
of conversation was a continual flow of heroic verse, with 
all the necessary inversions and syncope. She said that the 
river flashed its wavelet eyes beneath the sunset's golden 
veil, that the mountains donned their purpled robes, their 
bald, bare summits, glory crowned ; that the houses nestled 



SEA-GIFT. 293 

'iong the shore like white ducks resting from their sport; the 
steamboats puffed like wearied beasts, the sail boats glided, 
graceful swans ; and I have no doubt she would have gone 
on to personalities about her lonely heart and mine, had not 
her brother called her to Miss Stelway. 

As they had to spend a day in Albany, we parted there 
with many promises to renew our acquaintance at the 
Springs. The next day found me with good rooms at the 
Union Hotel, Saratoga. As I did not know a single person 
there, I found it, of course, very dull, and spent the day 
sauntering around to look at the various objects of interest. 
That night there was a ball at the Union, but there was such 
a press in the ball room that I might as well have been 
in the Mammoth Cave without a light, for all I could see. 

I retired early, leaving directions to the servant to call 
me soon in the morning. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

The sun had not been up long when I reached the 
spring, and found the little boys already busy with their 
long-handled dippers. I gulped down a glass of the water, 
which is a bad mixture of soda and Epsom salts, and was 
strolling over the grounds, thinking how pleasant 'twould 
be to have even little Miss Finnock along with me, when 
the rattling of the circular railway caught my ear and I 
walked towards it. A gentleman and lady were riding in 
the car, who riveted my attention at once. The gentleman 
was strikingly handsome. A snow white Panama hat, 
whose flexible brim, bending up before the current of air, 
showed a high, white forehead, and black eyes so piercing 
in their glance that I involuntarily shrank back as they 
whirled past me. A very heavy moustache, parted in the 



294 SEA-GIFT. 

middle, fell on each side of his lip like a stream of ink ; a 
graceful, massive frame, yet a small hand turning the crank 
of the car and a small foot with high instep rested on the 
edge. This much I saw as they rattled by, and strange to 
say, so full of admiration was I for the man that it was not 
till they were coming around again that I noticed the lady, 
who was much the handsomer of the two. She was clad 
iu a blue morning robe, whose ample folds floated grace- 
fully out from the side of the car. Oi*e tiny gloved hand 
rested playfully on the flying crank, while the other held in 
her lap the broad straw hat she had taken off. Her eyes 
were as black as her companion's, but were soft and gentle 
in their expression ; her hair, superbly massive in its loose 
folds, was as black as a raven's wing, and fell in wavy pro- 
fusion far below her waist. These were the general outlines 
of her features, for I could not see her face distinctly, so 
swift was the speed of the car. But even that glimpse had 
thrilled me, and an indefinable something in the face seemed 
to speak familiarly to my heart, and awaken wild, vague 
visions of something forgotten — perhaps the memories of 
previous existence, as Plato calls them. 

" Have I seen her in my dreams ?" I murmured, " or is 
she the star of my destiny which intuition thus reveals, that 
her beauty should so thrill me?" 

A romantic youth, fresh from college, on the lookout for 
adventures, with a very large fund of admiration, on which 
beauty could check at sight ; is it a wonder I was in love a 
second after this bright vision of loveliness floated by ? 

I waited for them to come round again, but I saw the car 
stop on the other side, and hurried through the crowd only 
to see them enter a gold mounted phaeton, drawn by a 
splendid pair of blood bays, the driver and footman in 
liveries almost too gorgeous for Republican America. 

" May the Fates grant he may only be a brother 1 They 
look alike," I muttered, as I walked back to the hotel. 



SEA-GIFT. 295 

I sought for them in vain during the day around the 
hotel, though I thought once I saw the black moustache 
behind the green baize door of the billiard room, but, on 
entering, I could not find it. 

That afternoon Mrs. Marshman and party came up from 
Albany, and took rooms also at the Union. How cordial 
was Miss Finnock in her manner towards me ! and how 
long she let her hand remain in mine when I shook hands 
with her ! Poor, little cold hand ! I felt as if I was press- 
ing a frog with five legs 1 

The ladies were too much fatigued to go to the dance 
that night, so Finnock and I walked across to Congress Hall 
after tea. I told him of the wonderful beauty I had seen in 
the morning, and asked if he could not contrive to get an 
introduction for us. 

" Oh, yes," he said, carelessly, " presyume so ; she's the 
same Monte wrote me about. Devilish pretty, rich, and 
so forth. Engaged to that fellow, Monte says. Pious old 
couple to take care of her. But yonder's Monte now." 

He carried me up to a throng of foppish young men who 
were lounging on the steps of the hotel. They spoke, after 
Finnock's introduction, with a cool kind of condescension 
that irritated, and, to a certain extent, humiliated me. 
While in my heart I despised them for their foppish useless- 
ness, yet I felt they somewhat looked down upon me as 
being from the country, and I desired their attention and 
consideration more than I did the esteem of the most prom, 
inent gentlemen of my acquaintance ; such is pride ! 

" Why, Finnock, where the devil did you spring from ?" 
said Monte, a tall, languid fellow, with dark red hair, 
roached up in curling puffs on each side of the central 
division ; somewhat lighter whiskers flowing in long wisps 
from each ear to the corner of his mouth, while his short 
chin, shaved clean, imparted an angry bull dog expression 
that required all the languor of his weak eyes and single 



296 SEA-GIFT. 

eye-glass to soften. " I thought you were going across the 
pond?" 

" No, not yet," said Finnock, carelessly, " the old man 
swears that stocks are too low to think of Europe. I told 
him I didn't care, I would either take three M's for Europe 
next winter or two for the Springs and Newport." 

" Say, Finn.," continued Monte, " have you heard about 
Sedley ?" 

" No, anything bad ?" 

" Rather ! got a lift from. Lola, took the blues, and went 
into the jungle." 

" 'D the tiger hurt him ?" 

" A little — fifteen hundred or so. He left next morning, 
and I expect has committed suicide." 

" Who the deuce is Lola ?" asked Finnock. 

" She's the rage now — prettier than Venus and richer 
than Plutus himself. Don't you remember my writing you 
about her ?" 

"Ah, yes, I do remember," said Finnock, "but where is 
she from, Monte ?" 

"The devil knows," said that gentleman. " I found her 
here when I came and as all the first ladies were jealous 
and angry, and all the best fellows in love with her, I went 
in without questioning her previous history." 

" Sed. was euchred badly," put in a bloated young man, 
with protruding bleared eyes and very red nose ; " held a 
good hand, too, but played his cards badly and lost. They 
say he went a five hundred diamond ring, but she sent it 
back." 

" That was hard on him ; but, Monte 1" said Finnock, 
" Smith and I want an introduction, cannot you present us ?" 

" Certainly," said Monte, getting up from his chair, and 
shaking one leg at a time, to make his pants smooth, "but 
it's useless, that black eyed fellow with her has it all his own 
way. She will waltz with no one else, pretends to be 



SEA-GIFT. 297 

squeamish, bat it is all because he will not let her. The 
devil take these old marching Lancers and trotting quad- 
rilles ; give me a soft hand and a trim waist, and my toe is 
at your service. Let's have something to drink !" 

All assented, and I followed them into the bar-room. I 
did not wish to drink, but my moral courage shrank from 
refusing before a throng of exquisites, who were just ad- 
mitting me to their fellowship. Accordingly, when the 
others had called for juleps, cold punches and " straights," I 
responded to Monte's inquiry, by stating very faintly that I 
would take a sherry cobbler, believing that was the weakest 
drink I could name. Monte repeated the orders to Snyder, 
the bar man, with the injunction to make them strong, and 
we all stood around trying to keep up a desultory conversa- 
tion, but watching, with more interest, the preparation of 
the beverages, as men always do at a bar. 

Snyder, a large fat man, in his shirt sleeves, with a large 
diamond pin on his large bosom, and a heavy moustache on 
his heavy lip, who had been looking off vacantly while we 
delivered our orders, now started as if he suddenly remem- 
bered them, and calling an assistant, took down the bottles, 
put in the white hailed ice and sugar, the sprigs of mint, 
the slices of lemon, and set the dewy glasses on the counter. 
With a bow and a health we drank, and then Finnock swore 
we should have another round. This time I had weakened 
enough in my resolution to try a julep, and feeling a tinge 
of the old excitement coming over me, I asked, as we turned 
to leave the bar, the privilege of treating. 

" Have you some good champagne — green seal or Ver- 
zenay — the best now?" I asked the barkeeper, assuming 
something of the bully in my tone. 

" Not champagne at the bar 1" said Monte, "that is sa- 
cred to the table." 

The barkeeper pointed us to a curtain 3d apartment, and 
sent in the champagne and some biscuit. 

13* 



298 SEA-GIFT. 

We spent, perhaps, half an hour behind the curtain, and 
when we came forth I felt as if I was again at Frank's 
party. Though the others had, perhaps, imbibed more than 
I, yet it had not affected them so sensibly, and, muddled as 
was my brain, I saw they were enjoying my condition. 

They proposed that we have a peep at the Tiger, and I 
agreed very readily, having a faint idea that we were going 
to a zoological exhibition. 

The zoological garden proved to be a brilliantly lighted 
room, redolent of cigars and full of tables, around which were 
grouped eager, anxious faces. I had never gambled in my 
life, but felt compelled to show my contempt for money by 
staking a few dollars on a game or two. I soon lost some- 
thing over a hundred, and was getting more and more reck- 
less, to the extent of much larger stakes, when Monte pro- 
posed to leave, saying to one of his companions, in an 
undertone, which I, however, heard : 

" That will do for to-night, not too much at a time." 

Monte proposed to take us over to the ball room and 
introduce us to Lola, the sensation, but I objected that I 
was not in evening dress. Monte swore I was fit for Buck- 
ingham Palace, and dragged me along to the room. Our 
party was very noisy as we entered the ball room, and 
several gentlemen moved away from our group in apparent 
disgust. The brilliancy of the scene dazzled and confused 
me, and I stood staring stupidly about, holding to Monte's 
arm for support. The floor was full of dancers, who were 
circling in a spirited Mazourka. 

" There she is, Smith 1" exclaimed Monte, " isn't she 
superb ?" 

Just in front of us was the belle of the season — my un- 
known beauty of the circular railway, floating gracefully in 
the embrace of the black moustache. 

Her hair was now caught up in a magnificent coil, and 
its black folds were adorned with a beautiful spray of 



SEA-GIFT. 299 

pearls. Her eyes — and oh ! how melting and tender was 
their look — splendid in their depth of expression, were 
turned up to the face of her partner, and her form, perfect 
in its outlines, reposed with easy confidence in his arms. 
Her arm, round, smooth and dazzling, was shown in fine 
relief against the black cloth of his coat, and her neck, white 
as^snow, tapered exquisitely from her bare, dimpled shoul- 
ders to the shading of her hair. 

How my heart throbbed with admiration as she passed 
me ; and again that strange memory of a dream of her face 
came over me ! 

Again they came around, an * her full face was turned to- 
ward me. Heavens, can it be ? yes, there, on that lovely arm, 
just above the tinted kid, a serpent in Etruscan gold wound 
its coils up the flesh, and I knew it was Carlotta. 

"Monte I" I said, grasping his arm tightly, "that's C'lotta; 
I know her, I raised her. Lem'me go and speak to her !" 

"Wait, Smith, don't be a fool!" he said, impatiently 
shaking me off, and making his way across the room, as the 
music had now ceased. 

I turned to the others of our party and kept repeating, 
" That's our C'lotta, I know her 's well 's I want to. She 
knows me soon 's she sees me." 

An elderly gentleman, who had been much annoyed by 
our noise, and who had been looking very steadily at us for 
several minutes, now got up from his seat and approached. 
I looked at him now for the first time, and oh, shade of 
Hamlet 1 I recognized my father. The most fervent wish 
of my heart was that there might be a Samson underneath 
that floor with his hands already on the pillars. 

He did not smile as I pressed his hand, but said, " Come, 
go with me up to our room, John." 

His presence, and my chagrin and surprise did one good 
thing — it effectually sobered me. 

As we walked out of the room he left me for a moment, 



300 SEA-GIFT. 

and when he rejoined me a lady was on his arm — my mother. 
There was as much sorrow as joy in her kiss, and wo pro- 
ceeded in silence to their rooms. I took the proffered seat, 
and no one spoke for some time ; then mother burst into 
tears and said : 

"Oh, my child ! my child ! you have almost broken my 
heart. To think that I left you such a pure, noble boy, and 
return to meet you drunk, and in a disorderly crowd. Oh, 
John, how cruelly you have deceived us !'' 

I threw myself on my knees, as I used to do when a child, 
and buried my face in her lap. 

"Mother," I said, humbly, "I have not deceived you ; let 
me explain." 

"My son," said she, "there can be no explanation. I 
saw you intoxicated myself ; and even now you are under 
the influence of liquor." 

Her last words somewhat nettled me, and I resumed my 
seat, saying as I did so : 

"I am entirely sober, madam ;" which, indeed, was the 
truth, for all the fumes and effects of the liquor I had taken 
departed instantly from me on the discovery of my parents. 
Father, who had been regarding me with much pity, now 
spoke : 

" Do not be too hard on him, Mary ; perhaps this is his 
first offence." 

" It is, it is," I said, gratefully ; then suddenly remember- 
ing, I said, candidly : "No, I will confess I was under the 
influence of wine once before this," and I told of Frank's 
party. With that exception this was my first time, and I 
promised that it should be the last. 

They both seemed mollified, and seeing that I was really 
not under the influence of liquor, they gradually fell into 
conversation with me, and we forgot all unpleasantness in 
our mutual inquiries about each other's health, and a gene- 
ral hash of all that had occurred since we parted. The 



SEA-GIFT. 301 

evening wore on, and I commenced to make preparation for 
my departure ; I had just taken my hat when a rustling- 
was heard in the corridor, a musical " Good night !" and 
Carlotta came in, holding up her satin trail with its shower 
of lace. She started back on seeing a stranger in the room, 
but the next instant, as I rose to meet her, she dropped her 
skirt, and, holding out both hands, exclaimed :* 

"John ! dear brother !" and putting up her rosy lips she 
kissed me, then stood looking at me with earnest happiness 
in her glance, as if she was really glad to meet me. What 
a joyous feeling there was in my heart ! An hour or two 
before I had coveted just the honor of an introduction, now 
I had pressed her hand and kissed her ! There was a de- 
lightful surprise, too, about the kiss, that made it all the 
more thrilling. We had never been very intimate, though 
living in the same house, and while confiding many secrets 
to each other as children, as I have told, yet there was 
always a shadow of reserve between us, and it was only by 
observing, at a distance, the beautiful depth of her character, 
I had learned to love her. After a three years' residence in 
Europe I had expected to find her haughty, vain and super- 
cilious, and had rather dreaded the meeting ; but now I 
found that the flattery and adulation she had received, in- 
stead of turning her head, had only conferred the insight of 
experience, and made her own heart more earnest and true. 

These thoughts of her ran rapidly through my mind as I 
gazed at the beautiful, brilliant woman that had bloomed 
from the lovely child, whose image I had cherished since we 
had parted. 

We sat down with father and mother, and as we all had 
much to say, there were not many seconds that escaped un- 
freighted with a word. Carlotta seemed much more ready 
to listen to me, though, than to talk, and instead of telling 
what she had seen and done seemed intensely interested in 
my dull affairs. 



302 SEA-GIFT. 

Father asked her if she were not going back to the ball 
room. 

" Oh, dear, no," she said, drawing off her gloves, " I had 
much rather stay here and talk with John ; beside, I am 
tired. I had a long sail on the lake to-day, and drove out 
with Cousin Herrara this afternoon. Please unfasten my 
bracelet," and she extended her arm to me. 

As I took her soft white arm in my hand can you wonder 
that I pretended to be awkward, that I might prolong the 
undoing of it ? 

" Apropos of the ball, John," she said, while I was fumb- 
ling at the bracelet, " Mr. Monte asked the privilege of in- 
troducing two friends, Mr. Finnock and Mr. Smith. Did he 
refer to you ?" 

I told her he did, and what a romantic fervor I felt after 
I had seen her at the railway, and she and father rallied 
me on losing it as soon as I found her out, and mother 
helped me to deny it, and we were all so pleasant together 
we forgot the lapse of time. Looking at my watch and 
finding it nearly day, I bade them good night, and went to 
my room. 

Like a child with a new toy, I felt a continual surprise 
and delight that the brilliant belle of the Springs was my 
Carlotta. Mine ? The thought of Cousin Herrara placed a 
very large mark of interrogation after that word. As all 
indications pointed to the fact that she was his, and would 
ere long leave our home, the question came to me, bitterly: 
Can I give her up ? 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

A late breakfast found Mr. and Mrs. Marshman and my- 
self at the table, Finnock and the two young ladies having 
gone l'or an ante-gestacular walk. 



SEA-CIFT. 303 

After a smoke I hurried over to Congress Hall and found 
Carlotta and Herrara Lola in the parlor. She was looking 
perfectly lovely in a morniDg dress of India muslin, and with 
her hair flowing loose through a band of gold. For the first 
time now I felt the abashment I had dreaded, and realized 
the disadvantage at which I appeared, in person and 
manners, after my long residence among books and boys, as 
I met the glance of Herrara's dark eyes, and imagined I 
could detect a smile at my discomfiture beneath the jetty 
fringe on his lip. 

" Cousin Herrara I" said Carlotta, " this is John, my 
brother ; you almost know him, I have spoken to you so 
much of him." 

I bowed low over his hand, which was soft, and small as 
a woman's, as he said, with just enough Spanish in his 
accent to soften the English : 

" I am glad to meet you, Mr. Smith. Lola has made us 
acquainted ere this occasion." 

His manners were those of a courteous iceberg, and I 
endeavored to adjust mine to a reciprocal degree of frigidity 
I had just commenced a stereotyped reply when the same 
horses and carriage I had seen at the railway drove up, 
and he remarked to Carlotta : 

" I ordered the carriage for our usual drive, but I pre- 
sume you now prefer renewing old times and terms with 
your friend." 

" Certainly, Cousin Herrara, I will stay with John, as I 
have not seen him for years, and am with you every day." 

" I resign her then to you, Mr. Smith," he said, turning 
off, while I thanked him with an attempt at one of his bows. 
He approached a group of gentlemen outside the door and 
asked two of them to ride with him. The three got into the 
carriage, a few plunges of the noble animals and the spokes 
in the wheels became almost invisible as they whirled up 
the street. 



304 SEA-GIFT. 

"A superb equipage !" I said, as we took our seats near 
the window. 

" Yes, Cousin Herrara purchased the turnout from a 
Cuban acquaintance here a few days since. He is going to 
send it to Havana." 

" You are very fond of Cousin Herrara, are you not V- I 
asked, with something of petulance in my tone. 

"Indeed I am," she said, frankly; "he is as kind and 
loving as he can be, and is always attentive without being 
obtrusive. I am indebted to him for almost all the pleasure 
I have seen since I left Wilmington. But, come, tell me all 
the news about the dear old place," she said, laying her 
cheek on the downy tips of her fan. " What of Lulie and 
your Chapel Hill love ?" 

"Lulie is still Frank's slave, and a remorseless cruel 
master he is," I said. 

" Then you and she have never renewed your old feeling ?" 

"And never will," I said, solemnly. " The other lady to 
whom you refer, DeVare's fiancee, is here now as the Hon. 
Mrs. Marshman. Her old Congressman is, however, too 
jealous for her to receive attentions from gentlemen." 

" Really, you seem to be unfortunate in your loves." 

" Indeed I am. I even fear that " I found that the 

sentence might prove too pointed for the occasion, and I 
would not complete it. 

Without asking for the remainder, she changed the sub- 
ject into inquiries about all her acquaintances, and put me 
through a regular examination. When she had concluded, 
I told her I would now put her on the witness stand. 

" Do you love Herrara, Lola ?" I first asked. 

She looked at me steadily, as if to read my motives, and 
then, as the smile came back to her face, said, " That is too 
pointed and abrupt ; try circumlocution and I will be more 
communicative." 

She was so quiet and self-possessed in her evasion that I 



SEA-GIFT. 305 

felt more than ever convinced that she loved her cousin, 
and said, with an attempt at ironical pleasantry: 

"You are engaged to him, and can't deny it. Invite me 
to the wedding, please." 

She laughed carelessly, as she looked out the window and 
replied : 

"Your method of extorting information is so ingenious 
that I would dread its inquisition, were I not happily re- 
lieved by seeing yonder the object of your inquiries." 

As she spoke Lola's phaeton rolled to the door, and he 
and his companions got out. He came in, drew a chair to 
Carlotta's side, and taking her fan from her hand fanned 
his face vigorously, turning it from side to side to catch the 
wind, and lifting the dark, curling hair from his high, hand- 
some forehead. As soon as he approached I again felt that 
shrinking in his presence, that consciousness of a conscious- 
ness in him of superiority, though my own pride would not 
acknowledge it. He was such an Apollo in face and form, 
so elegant and recherche in style, that I was sure Carlotta 
could not help regarding me as plain and unsophisticated ; 
and, feeling desirous of escaping the consequent awkward- 
ness of my situation, I was about to go to my hotel, when 
Carlotta spoke : 

"Herra, you ought to have remained with us. I am sure 
you would have enjoyed our conversation more than you 
did your ride." 

" If you conversed at all I would," he said, folding her 
fan and returning it. " The road was so dusty we could 
not open our mouths. B-it you are fortunate, Mr. Smith, if 
you can entertain Carlotta for half an hour. Ten minutes 
is her maximum time of interest in what I say." 

" Now, Herra," said Carlotta, " You know I was with you 
a whole hour yesterday ; but you would have been as much 
interested in Mr. Smith's conversation as I was, as it was 
about yourself." 



306 SEA-GIFT. 

I only heard his nonchalant "Ah I indeed!" when, with 
a hot flush on my cheek, and an angry resentment in my 
heart, I rose, and without a word of adieu left them, and 
walked across the street to the Union. I knew they could 
see me from the window, and I fancied them laughing at 
my discomfiture. I was just debating whether I would 
leave the Springs and continue my tour of travel alone, or 
stay there and make love to Miss Finnock, when I saw the 
little flat face and wide eyes of the lady in question peeping 
out the parlor door. As I approached she smiled a froggy 
little smile, and said : 

" Have you seen my brother or Mr. Marshman ? I have 
been expecting them some time." 

" No, indeed," I replied, offering my arm ; "shall we go 
in search of them, or wait here in the parlor ?" 

" We had best wait, perhaps," she said, glancing toward 
two chairs in a shaded corner. 

We took our seats, and her ceaseless little tongue began : 

"Oh! Mr. Smith, you should have been with us this 
morning." 

" Why and where ?" I said, affecting Laconicism. 

"Mrs. Marshman and I walked out to the Indian en- 
campment near here, and we saw there such an interesting 
old woman. She claims to be of the rOyal line of chiefs, and, 
in her broken way, talks very prettily of the encroachments 
of the whites upon the hunting grounds of her fathers. y 

" To one of your poetic temperament, Miss Finnock," I 
replied, " she must indeed be an object of interest. What 
a romantic sadness attaches itself to a contemplation of the 
destiny of these forest children ! Poor, fading race ! A 
few squalid beggars are all that are left of the legions of 
feather-decked warriors who once fought their battles here. 
Ever receding before the resistless march of civilization, the 
last tribe will soon chant their death-song on the shores of 
the Pacific, and sink with the setting sun in its waves." 



SEA-GIFT. 30T 

It roused her, and T saw by the spread of her nostrils 
that her soul was on fire. My remarks were part of an old 
speech at school, which I happened to remember, but they 
served very well for a match to the powder of her romance. 
She gazed at me as if in raptures while I was speaking, and 
when I ended she clasped her hands, with tears, or water, in 
her eyes, and exclaimed : 

" Yes, indeed, Mr. Smith, there is a romantic interest 
that clings to the memory of these Nature's lords Their 
mysterious origin, their nobility of soul, their mute adora- 
tion of the Great Spirit, the wild poetry of their legends, 
all have combined to make me admire them with all the 
fervor of my nature. Oh 1 what indeed must be the agony 
of their bursting hearts, as they stand on some lone moun- 
tain, and read in the smoke of the steamer their certain 
doom. Ah I when we think of their wrongs, the tomahawk 
becomes the battle-axe of freedom, and the scalping-knife 
as sacred as the dagger of a Corday." 

Fearing, if I encouraged her, she might pack up and go 
West, to become the Florence Nightingale of the Comanches, 
I begged pardon for changing the subject, and asked her if 
she had seen my sister. 

"Your sister !" she exclaimed, in her surprise, " I thought 
you were travelling alone, and expected to meet your family 
at Niagara." 

" So I did, but it seems they telegraphed of the change in 
their plans after I had left the University ; and so I was 
very greatly surprised to find them here." 

" She is not your sister, except by adoption, is she ? I 
have heard Mrs. Marshman speak of you in connection 
with her. You are expected to love and marry her, are you 
not ?" 

" No, I cannot love on compulsion," I replied, looking 
very steadily at her ; " the emotion must be spontaneous, 
and unaffected by circumstances." 



308 SEA-GIFT. 

"You express my sentiments perfectly," she said, looking 
at me with a glance that was meant to be searching. 

" Have you ever loved, Miss Finnock ?" I asked, artlessly. 
Her eyes fell to her lap, and her fingers twitched each other 
as nervously as if she were a mute and were spelling. 

" I cannot say that I have," she replied, after a pause. " I 
may, as a child, have felt heart throbs and bashfulness as the 
little boy over the way came to trundle hoops with me, but 
I have never felt that fervid and deep emotion which accords 
with my idea of love." 

" May I ask, then, Miss Finnock, if you have given no- 
thing in return for the many hearts laid at your feet ?" 

" There have been no ;" she commenced the truth but 

caught herself, and said : 

" I have never had an offer of love I believed sincere, nor, 
indeed, one that I could reciprocate." 

I knew that I ought not to say anything more, butCarlotta 
had offended me, and I was reckless. 

" But did you believe a love sincere, would you return it ?" 
I asked, deepening my tone of voice to the dramatic. 

Her eyes came timidly up to mine, and then fell again as 
she said softly : 

" That depends on whose the love was." 

" Miss Finnock !" I said, drawing hearer, " If I ." 

" Hush ! hush 1 here comes Lil," she said, raising her 
hands in warning. " Oh, how provoking 1" she added, with 
a look that was intended to be sweet. 

As I looked up, Mrs. Marshman entered the room, and 
little knowing how de trop she was, took a seat near us and 
commenced some ordinary topic of conversation. I felt 
relieved, and was therefore quite affable, but Miss Finnock 
seemed put out about something, and was scarcely civil in 
li'.-r replies to her. She soon excused herself, and leaving 
Mrs. M. and myself in the parlor, ran up stairs. She was 
gone about ten minutes, and returning, brought with her a 



SEA-GIFT. 309 

bark-and-bead cigar case, which, after a moment's hesita- 
tion, she gave me, with the remark : " I purchased that from 
the old Indian, Mr. Smith, and I beg that you will accept 
and preserve it as a souvenir of this morning, and of our 
mutual admiration of the red man." 

" Why, Saph 1" said Mrs. Marshman, while I was bowing 
my acknowledgments, " you do not know Mr. Smith well 
enough to make him a present". 

" Mr. Smith appreciates the gift, and will not misconstrue 
my motives. I dare say he will remember our conversa- 
tion," she added, glancing archly at me. 

I assured her that I would, and would eternally treasure 
the case, with pleasant memories of the fair donor, and of 
our delightful converse, and even ventured on the hackney- 
ed rhapsody about death alone being competent to part the 
said case and myself. She bowed and blushed, and I toyed 
with the case in the momentary silence that ensued, and 
opening saw that there was a crumpled note deep down in 
it. Just as I was inserting two fingers to reach it a waiter 
approached, and presented his salver, on which lay two 
cards. I looked up in surprise as I read the names, " Herrara 
Lola" and "Lola Rurlestone," and asked where they were. 

" In the lower parlor, sir," he said, bowing as I rose to 
follow him. I excused myself to the two ladies, and 
thoughtlessly left the cigar case on an ottoman where I had 
laid it when I took up the cards. 

In the lower parlor I found Carlotta and her cousin 
waiting for mo. Carlotta was standing near the piano, 
looking expectantly towards the door, while Herrara was 
leaning carelessly against the instrument, turning over the 
leaves of a music portfolio. 

"John, what on earth did you mean by leaving us so ab- 
ruptly," said Carlotta, making a feint of striking me with 
her glove. " I would have thought you offended if I could 
nave imagined any cause." 



310 SBA-GIFT, 

" You ought to have known me better," was all I could 
think of for a reply. 

" Well, it makes no difference now, but you must go back 
with us. Mrs. Smith sent us over after you. She says 
she has scarcely spoken to you since we found you." 

" I am at your service," I said, and Herrara rose up from 
the piano languidly and said : • 

"Mr. Smith will escort you back, Lola; I'll go to the bil- 
liard room." 

" May I tell him, Herra?" asked Carlotta, as he walked 
off; " it's such a short time." 

" I don't care," he replied, as he lifted his hat gracefully 
and left the parlor. 

" May I ask what it is you wish to tell?" I said, feeling an 
interest in all secrets between them. 

" Everybody believes here that Cousin Herrara and I are 
engaged, and I assure you it is very inconvenient, for it 
deprives me of a quantity of attention which you know I 
would receive, and I believe from your conduct you have 
fallen into the same error." 

" I have had sufficient reason for such a belief," I replied. 

" Well, it's no such thing. He is engaged to a lady in 
Madrid. He returns to Cuba next month, and then sails to 
Spain for his beautiful bride." 

" Then you are still in the market?" I said, with an un- 
accountable feeling of relief at my heart. 

" Of course I am," she replied, as we ran across the street 
to Congress Hall. 

We had hardly joined father and mother in the parlor be- 
fore a servant appeared with cards for Carlotta, and soon 
Monte and two others entered. 

As she received them across the room I was left to a 
quiet talk with my parents. We had not told each other a 
tithe of what we had to tell when I saw the gentlemen rise 
and accompany Carlotta to the piano. As she seated her- 



SEA-GIFT. 311 

self gracefully at the instrument, and gave the warbling 
keys the petting of a prelude, there was a hush round the 
room, and I listened eagerly for the first note. She sang a 
soft Italian air, as full of mellow, rich trillings as a nightin- 
gale's song, and her splendid voice, perfect in its culture, 
rose and fell with exquisite melody and wondrous expres- 
sion through the difficult measures. Its floods of glorious 
music so filled the room that we could not have told where 
the notes came from but for the throbbing of her Parian 
throat. When the last sound had died away, like the sob- 
bing of a silver bell, every one gave the rapt applause of 
silence, till Monte, with his affected drawl, asked for a half 
dozen screeching arias. When she had sung enough the 
gentlemen left, and I was hoping that I would have her to 
myself, when another waiter appeared with more cards, and 
I found I would only have to play spectator at her levee. 

I intended to move over to their hotel, but found, on appli- 
cation at the office, that it was too much crowded, and kept 
my rooms at the Union. That evening at tea I found Mr. 
Marshman and lady present, but Miss Finnock had finished 
and gone to her room. Underneath my plate I found the 
cigar case and a note. I looked up in some confusion, and 
found Mrs. Marshman smiling at me, as if she thought our 
love was a foregone conclusion. 

"Sappho is a dear little girl, isn't she?" she said, as I un- 
folded the note. 

"Very," I replied laconically, finding, without surprise, 
that the note was a string of verses, as follows : 

" Forgotten the gift, the giver, alas 1 

Cannot claim the least thought in the day. 
With me all the moments and seconds that pass 

Bear an image of thee on their way. 

This morning, suspenseful, I hung on thy speech, 

And Time, oh, too swiftly did fly : 
The cup is dashed down before my lips reach 
It, and bliss is cut off with ' If I ' 



312 SEA-GIFT. 

And oh ! what a vista of happiness opes 

At the touch of the Sesame 'if;' 
What a sun-colored life, what a Canaan of hopes 

Do I glimpse through the unclosing rift." 

There was no signature, but a holly leaf was pinned at 
the bottom of the verses. The emblem of holly I knew to 
be " Forgotten ;" but if I had picked the verses up in Bessa- 
rabia I would have known Miss Finnock wrote them. I fold- 
ed them up carefully and put the cigar case in my pocket, 
and finished my tea in silence, Mrs. Marshman having 
risen from the table while I was reading. I was really an- 
noyed at the turn things had taken. If Miss Finnock had 
been an experienced flirt I should have regarded the affair 
as capital fun, but I 'felt sure Miss F. was in earnest; for, 
though she was old enough, she had never had much ex- 
perience, and I had not attained that very desirable point 
of social education when I could knowingly trifle with a 
young lady's feelings. I resolved once not to see her again, 
but remembered that I had an engagement to visit the en- 
campment with her next morning. 

" Well," I said, resignedly, as I lit my cigar on the lawn, 
" I will certainly not commit myself farther. No word or 
hint of love will I give to-morrow." 



CHAPTER XXXYI. 

The waiter's reveille was very unwelcome next morning, 
but I rose and dressed and found Miss Finnock already in 
the parlor. 

''Oh, the morning air is so bracing, is it not?" she said, 
as we left the hotel ; " it buoys one up so ; I feel so light- 
hearted and free early in the morning ; I am as airy as a 



SEA-GIFT. 313 

feather," and she almost skipped in her youthful exuberance 
of spirits. 

" You had better weigh," I said, somewhat morosely, as 
we passed the old lame man and his scales. 

I confess I was out of humor. Can you blame me? To 
be roused at such an hour, to parade over to see tiresome 
Indians, with a fidgety little woman, who was trying to 
captivate me, and whom I hated now. Would not her very 
flow of spirits be provoking? 

" See yon dew-drops how they sparkle," she exclaimed, 
pointing with a finger on which shone a diamond ring over 
her glove. " Nature, unlike the ladies, wears her jewels at 
morn." 

" Then the ladies are not natural," I said emptily. 

" Oh 1 I confess we are quite artificial in many respects, 
though not artful — at least I am not." 

" Really, Miss Finnock, do you confess to artificial aid in 
your beauty V 

"If I had any beauty it would be artificial, of course. You 
admire beauty, do you not — your lady love is so beautiful?" 

" To whom do you refer as my lady love, Miss Finnock?" 

" Why, the lady who called you away from me yester- 
day. Please tell me if you love her. Now, confide in me, 
won't you ?" and she looked up at me with an affected squint 
in her broad little eyes. 

"I would trust you, Miss Finnock, but there is nothing to 
confide." 

"Then, of course, there is no love, as that is something of 
great importance." 

"Do you think so?" I said, vacantly, as we entered the 
camp ground. We spent half an hour strolling about, and 
after I had given five dollars for an old bead basket, that was 
said to have some Indian legend connected with it, and 1, pre- 
sented it to the little enthusiast, we turned back to our hotel. 
I was unusually dull, for I felt that it would be inconsist- 



314 SEA-GIFT. 

ent with previous attentions and her expectations to intro- 
duce commonplace topics, and I had determined not even to 
hint at love. She seemed to notice my reticence, and tried 
to rally me. 

"You do not seem as cheerful as usual, Mr. Smith. Can 
I have offended you in any way?" 

" Thank you, Miss Finnock, for the hint that I am not 
entertaining," I said, glad of anything to take up ; "let us 
hasten our steps that you may be the sooner relieved of my 
presence." 

" Oh, how cruelly you misinterpret my meaning. The 

pleasure of your company is as great — I mean that " she 

feigned confusion, " I like to be with you, but there is such 
a change in your manner since yesterday." 

" Is there?" I said, mechanically, and thoughtlessly con- 
tinued : "I was hardly aware of it. I am sure my feelings 
have not changed." 

" Have they not?" she exclaimed eagerly ; " neither have 
mine." 

'Twas too far gone to correct, and so I said nothing. 
After another pause she tried to look roguish and said, " Did 
you not chastise the waiter for his interruption yesterday?" 

What could I say but that I feared she had already re- 
warded him for so opportune an entrance. 

" I regretted it as much as you possibly could," she said, 
softly looking down at the beaten path. 

It was abrupt, perhaps unkind, but I inquired if she 
would take a glass of water, as we were just then near the 
springs. She assented with a slightly reproachful look, and 
we approached the circular railing, which was surrounded 
by a throng of health-seeking drinkers, all eagerly waiting 
for the glasses from the long whirling clippers. 

It was the same crowd that is always there. The stylish 
young lady,. who puts her glass down after the third sip; 
the pale young man with the large Adam's apple, which goes 



SEA-GIFT. 315 

up and down his throat like the piston of a pump, carrying 
down whole gills of water at every gulp ; the tall school girl, 
with her hair plaited in ribbons, leaning over to the glass 
and holding her dress back with one hand from its drip- 
pings ; the fat bad child, his mother holding a glass to his 
mouth, and resting her hand on his head as if it was the 
faucet she had to hold open for the water to run down ; and 
the delicate, meek boy, who has been brought to the springs 
by his father, who is now standing by, watching with deep 
interest and a notch stick the glasses he takes. Poor little 
fellow ! standing with a Hogarth's curve in his shoulders, 
both hands grasping the glass, he swigs away, while the 
veins and leaders in his neck swell and tighten, and the dark 
lines under his eyes grow deeper, and his eyelids redder, as 
they disappear behind the rising edge of the tumbler. He 
takes it down and blows out : " How many's that, pa?" and 
receiving the plaudit, " Five, my dear boy," is led away to 
the hotel, to spend the day in his room, instead of playing 
himself into health with other children. 

When Miss Finnock and I had left the pagoda, and were 
walking up the hill towards the hotel, she made a pretence 
of pondering over something, and suddenly said : 

" Mr. Smith, will you tell me something if I ask you?" 

" Most assuredly, Miss Finnock, if it is in my power to do so." 

"Well, I want to know — no, I can't ask you now, I'll 
wait till we part at the hotel." 

When we ascended the steps I begged to know her ques- 
tion. 

" Oh ! I cannot tell, it sounds so silly," she said, twirling 
the Indian basket with assumed bashfulness. 

" I must bid you good morning, then," I said, turning to 
leave. 

"No, I will tell you; I don't mind; I only wanted to 
know the remainder of the sentence you left unfinished 
yesterday." 



316 SEA-GIFT. 

"I will tell you soon," I replied, bowing and leaving her, 
for I knew not what else to say. Now I am in for it, I said 
to myself, as I walked across the street to Congress Hall, to 
breakfast with our family. I will consult Carlotta upon it 
and take her advice. 

As unpleasant as my walk had been in some respects, it 
had imparted an appetite that made porterhouse steaks and 
omelettes souffle disappear with a celerity alarming to the 
proprietors. As we rose from the table Carlotta told me 
that she and Lola were going over to the lake, and insisted 
that I should join them. As I now felt no delicacy about 
obtruding, since she had informed me of the relation she sus- 
tained to him, I consented. Lola and I had scarcely finished 
our cigars when his carriage was announced, and, going up 
to our parlors we found Carlotta waiting, the picture of 
perfect loveliness, beneath a broad sun hat. The road was 
already filled with vehicles, and the dust was floating in 
clouds about our faces ; Lola leaned forward and spoke to 
the driver ; " Go ahead, Michael," and with dizzy speed 
his splendid horses whirled us past every team, and we 
were breathing again the pure fresh air. 

When we reached the lake house, and had refreshed with 
some ices, I went down and secured a boat for a sail. Lola 
said he preferred the bowling alley, and Carlotta and I took 
our places in the graceful little craft I had chosen. My 
experience on the Sound at home had made me a good 
sailor, and I dismissed the boatman. 

Running up the sail and getting before the wind, so that 
there was no danger of a gybe, I lashed the rudder so as to 
direct our course across the lake, and took my seat by Car- 
lotta under the awning. The scene and situation were en- 
chanting. The purple hills held the crystal lake in their 
bosom, like an immense dew drop, while soft fleecy clouds 
floated off from their hazy tops like smoke from an altar. 
The glittering surface of the lake was crimped by the breeze 



S E A- G I FT. 317 

inte myriad ruffles, that rustled their little foam against our 
vessel's side. Other boats were sailing far off, and with their 
glistening canvas looked like white herons flying hither and 
thither with a slow, objectless flight. Behind us was the 
lake-house, its verandahs thronged with people, its car- 
riage way crowded with constantly arriving and departing 
vehicles, and at the water's edge, a long walk-way extend- 
ing out into the lake — all receding farther and farther from 
us. By my side was Carlotta, a bright glow on her cheeks, 
her beautiful eyes beaming with pleasure, and her magnifi- 
cent hair caught up in an immense coil, that seemed op- 
pressive in its weight as it was bewitching in its negligee. 
One glove was withdrawn and her sleeve pushed high up 
the swelling arm, while the dimpled hand dangled in the 
rippling waters, that reflected the smooth white fingers in 
crooked, dancing outlines. Out on the lake alone, and 
Heaven only knows how I loved her 1 yet I did not dare to 
disclose it. The very intimacy of our childhood, the rela- 
tions wo bore to each other in our family, the brilliancy of 
her career in society, and the constant adulation she re- 
ceived, all made me feel that she could regard my tame pro- 
posal of love with nothing less than ridicule. So, while my 
heart fluttered with its restrained emotion, I spoke care- 
lessly and lightly, admiring the view with her, and quoting 
Wordsworth and Tupper with pedantic inaptitude. Leav- 
ing scenery we became more personal, and, after asking her 
secrecy, I told her of my affair with Miss Finnock and asked 
her advice. 

" And you promised to finish the sentence soon ?" she 
said, laughing, and flipping the water from her fingers' ends 
as she drew on her glove ; " what was its intended conclu- 
sion?" 

" I was about to ask her that, if I were to offer my hand 
and heart, would she accept?" feeling a little ashamed of the 
commonplace phrases. 



318 SEA-GIFT. 

" A subjunctive courtship, truly," she said, smiling, as she 
took off her hat and threw back her hair from her white 
forehead to catch the fresh breeze. "Well, you have, in- 
deed, committed yourself. You have attached too much 
importance to the matter, by deferring it, to give it some 
trivial conclusion, such as, ' were I to raise the piano would 
you play V or, if I call this evening, will you ride with me ? 
You have promised, and her heart is beating high with 
expectation." 

" It will beat a long time before it is satisfied, then," I said, 
somewhat morosely. 

" Suppose you write her a note, and candidly inform her 
tbat your feelings have undergone a change," she suggested 
archly. 

" That would wound her feelings," I said, " and I cannot 
do that." 

" But are you sure the lady loves you? That is a matter 
of some importance." 

" I have every reason to believe it." 

"I see nothing that you can do but wait the issue of 
events. Wouldn't it be funny if you had to marry her, or 
be sued for a breach of promise?" 

"Pardon me for not seeing the fun in either case," I re- 
plied, shuddering at the bare idea of marrying her; "but 
see, here comes another boat !' 

The large boat at the lake house had been manned, and 
was rapidly catching up with us, under the pressure of sails, 
and oars to which a couple of stout Irishmen were bending. 
As they drew nearer we saw that the occupants were Mr. 
Marshman and party. Miss Finnock was sitting in the prow 
of the boat, armed with an opera glass, which she now 
lowered from the hills to our boat. I fancied her eyes grew 
wider apart as she saw who my companion was. Their 
boat came swiftly on, foaming at her prow, and bearing 
down upon us like a pirate on a prize. 



SEA-GIFT. 319 

They wore near enough now to bow, and I raised myself 
from my recliniug position to touch my hat. Mr. Finnock 
was steering, and I saw he knew nothing about it. 

As I had tied my rudder I did not unloose it, as I thought 
of course they would pass by. Such was Finnock's inten- 
tion, but attempting to bear to one side, he gave the rudder 
too strong a turn, and to correct that turned too much the 
other way, and their boat, at full speed, ran obliquely against 
us. Carlotta and Miss Finnock both had risen to their feet 
as they saw the impending collision, and were both precipi- 
tated into the water, between the boats, which separated as 
soon as they struck. 

Carlotta had scarcely touched the water before I was by 
her side. 

Did you ever see waves close over one you love? then 
you know the horror that stamped the whole scene upon my . 
memory, indelible in its distinctness, and perfectly vivid in 
its minutest detail. Her frightened look, as the boats came 
together, her agonizing cry for help as she fell, the dull 
splash of the water, the eddies that curled above the place 
she sank, all are present still. I remember now how clear 
the water was, and how, as with one stroke of my hands, I 
reached the spot, I saw her dress floating scarce beneath the 
surface, and then her face, distorted in her convulsive strug- 
gles for life, slowly rising upward. To draw her head 
above the surface was the work of a second, and as soon as 
she had cleared the water from her eyes and mouth suf- 
ficiently to become conscious, I bade her take my hand, and 
with the other commenced to swim to the nearest boat. As 
soon as she realized the situation she regained her presence 
of mind, and clung to me tenderly, though not so as to im- 
pede my movements. The large boat was not more than a 
dozen feet from us, and the occupants, as is usual in such 
cases, were in a frenzy of salvation, throwing overboard for 
our assistance, everything that would float. One of their 



320 SEA -GIFT. 

intended life-buoys — a heavy oar — struck me on the head, 
almost stunning me, but I shook the water from my eyes 
and struggled on. The next moment my feet became en- 
tangled in a web of garments, a bubbling shriek burst forth 
close at my ear, and my arms were pinioned by the frantic 
Miss Finnock, who rose near me 

"B-r-r-sh ok — ok — Oh ! chtl-Mr. Smith k-k — tl save your-k — 
d-arling, tlsave me k-ok — Oh ! tlsave-k-me. D-ts-earest tsave 
me ;" and, sputtering and choking, she clung to my neck, 
dragging me down irresistibly. As soon as Carlotta saw 
my danger, she let go my hand, and said, in her trembling 
voice, "Save yourself, John !" 

But all this occurred in half the time I have taken to write 
it, and the people in the boat had now recovered their 
senses. The two Irishmen were in the water, and Mr. 
Marshman and Finnock stood ready with ropes to aid them. 
Carlotta was first drawn on board, then Miss Finnock and 
myself. Mr. Marshman fortunately happened to have a 
flask of brandy along, so the ladies went to work on the 
ladies, the gentlemen on me, while the boat hands over- 
hauled our little boat, took down the sail, and lashed it fast 
to the large one. At first I felt weak and dizzy, but after a 
while I was able to sit up, though I could not render much 
help to the others. Carlotta was very pale, and her loosened 
hair, rendered still more glossy by the water, hung in jetty 
masses around her marble features. She was conscious, 
though faint, and lay helplessly in Mrs. Marshman's lap, 
occasionally raising her soft eyes to mine with an expression 
so full of grateful meaning that it thrilled me into life and 
activity. Miss Finnock had fainted, of course, and lay like 
one dead in Miss Stelway's lap. 

The pallor on her face did not tend to increase her beauty, 
and a large roll of wet hair was hanging to her own knot 
by a single hair-pin. 

Finnock and Miss Stelway were chafing her hands, and 



SEA-GIFT. 321 

trying to get some of the brandy between her lips. Mrs. 
Marshman suggested unfastening her clothing, but after Miss 
Stelway had stolen a hand under her bodice, she withdrew 
it hopelessly, as if there was rather too much to undo and 
cut. 

Very soon Miss F. commenced gasping, like a fish on a 
sand bank, and 'opening and closing her eyes in the most 
approved stage-faint style. Miss Stelway kissed her fore- 
head, and called her "dear Saph," with a fine resuscitating 
effect, for little Sappho began to utter broken sentences in 
faint but nervous sudden tones, jerking the words out, as if 
she could not control them. 

"Oh where — where — is he?" she said, looking straight up 
into Miss Stelway's face. "She sunk — him — I know she — 
did. I saw — her cling-ing to him." 

With Miss Stelway's assistance she sat up, and her eyes 
met mine. When, with an affected scream, she buried her 
ace in Miss Stelway's bosom, and sobbed. 

"There, darling," said Miss S., "compose yourself; we all 
are safe, and are nearly at the shore." 

"Oh, Nellie," said Miss Finnock, between her sobs, "did — 
they — all — see my — feet ?" 

Those at the Lake House had seen the accident, and Her- 

rara met us at the shore with his carriage. We drove 

rapidly back to the town, and were met by mother, with 

uplifted hands and a face full of horror. Afraid of forming 

a scene, I bade them good morning, and went over to my 

room to change my clothes. A strange happiness was at 

my heart, for Carlotta had pressed my hand, when we parted, 

with grateful fervor. 

14* 



322 SEA-GIFT. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Our accident formed quite a subject of sensation in Sara- 
toga, and, in a small way, I found myself the hero of the 
occasion, and scores of the "fellows" echoed Monte's senti- 
ments, wlien he said : 

" Smith, I vow I would like to have been in your place. 
'Twas jolly, I know, saving that angelic Lola. The devil 
take your good luck! did she hold on tight?" 

The afternoon following the day of the disaster I went 
over to Congress Hall, and sent up my card, and inquiries 
after Carlotta's health. The servant returned with a card 
from mother, saying Carlotta was almost well enough to go 
out, but that she was now sleeping under the influence of 
an opiate, and must remain quiet all the evening. They 
were in their parlor, and insisted that I should join them. 
I immediately went up stairs, and was met at the door by 
mother, with her bonnet on. She invited me in, in a whisper, 
and explained that she had just gotten ready to do some shop- 
ping that was necessary. She pointed to the centre table, on 
which were some new books, and begged me to amuse my- 
self for a quarter of an hour, when she would be back, or 
Carlotta would awaken. 

I accordingly took my seat, nothing loth to watch over 
such a beautiful charge, and picking up Beulah, which was 
the sensation just then, began to read. The room was very 
quiet, and the shaded light from the soft green curtains was 
very pleasant, but I could not become interested in the 
book, and, laying it down, I moved a chair noiselessly near 
Carlotta, and sat silently looking and loving. She was re- 
clining on a folding lounge of pink damask, that reflected a 
faint tint on her face, which was white as marble. Her hair 
was parted simply ot er her forehead, and fell in voluminous 
waves over the pillow, while her lashes lay in deep black 



crescents on her cheeks. One soft hand rested under her 
face, while the other lay at her side, its tapering fingers half 
closed. No quivers of the lids, no slightest motion, told of 
life, save the rise and fall of the snowy frill at her throat. 
Oh, hopeless love ! the saddest of all earth's sadness, the 
deepest of all earth's gloom ! 

She could not, did not love me, I knew from all the past 
and the present. To tell her of my love would only distress 
her and make home unhappy. Mine alone must be the 
struggle and the victory. I would kneel by her side, touch 
her cheek but once with my lips, and henceforth only be 
her brother. I rose softly and knelt by the sofa, and my 
face bent over hers. That kiss was to be the seal of my 
silence, and I was, from that moment, to bury the love of 
my life in my own heart, and trust to Time to build its tomb. 
I steadied myself with one hand on the back of the sofa, 
leaned down, and whispering only that one word, "Dar- 
ling !" kissed her cheek. As gentle as was my touch her 
eyes unclosed and she looked in my face. Overwhelmed 
with shame and confusion, I could not move or speak, but 
kneeled motionless with our faces almost touching, and my 
eyes fixed on hers. The next instant her soft arm was laid 
timidly around my neck, and, with a look that thrilled my 
very soul, she said, in a tone of wondrous tenderness, 
"John!" It was only one word, but it told me all; and 
the next instant, in a delirium of surprise and joy, I had 
clasped her in my arms, kissing her brow, and cheeks, and 
mouth, and murmuring, "Darling, do you love me?" 

And when Reason had returned, what a Heaven on earth 
'twas to sit by her side, to hold her hand in mine, to feel the 
glorious resurrection of hope and love from the grave to 
which I was about to consign them, to know that the very 
truth and sincerity of her nature assured the certainty and 
earnestness of her love for me ! Then it was such a delight- 
ful surprise, so different from what I expected, that I feared 



324 8 E A- GIFT. 

it could not be true — that it was all a dream. " Carlotta," I 
said, looking at her fondly, " is this real, do you love me ? 
Is it possible that, after all my fears, all my despair, you will 
be mine, my own darling — mine to love, cherish and honor, 
with a devotion man never knew before ?" She looked up 
into my face with a depth of truth in her dark eyes that dis- 
pelled every doubt, as she said : 

" I have always loved you, John." 

" Always, Lottie ? What hours of unhappiness 'twould 
have saved me had I known it ; for, though I have loved 
you constantly during these long years of our separation, 
yet I have felt that my love was hopeless, and while I treas- 
ured that dear curl, the pledge of your remembrance, I 
somehow felt that you would remember me only as the 
friend, perhaps the brother of your childhood. As I re- 
ceived letters telling me of your growth into beautiful 
womanhood, and of the attention and devotion that were 
lavished upon you everywhere, I felt that the gulf between 
us was widening — that you would return proud and super- 
cilious, inflated with your success, and contemptuous of my 
quiet student life. Almost fearing to meet you, I delayed 
along my trip, hoping that when I reached Niagara I would 
find our party gone ; hence I stopped at the Springs, intend- 
ing, after a week's stay, to run across to the Falls. You 
know the rest; how cordially you met me, and how the 
thraldom of my life was sealed. The love that had glowed 
so steadily during your absence burst into a resistless flame 
before your superb beauty and lovely character.. Yet 0, 
darling, the anguish of the thought that you would never 
love me — that another would soon claim the hand that held 
in its grasp my soul ! I could have borne it better had I 
found you haughty and vain, for then resentment would have 
aided me ; but I found that you were still the same sweet 
Carlotta that had told me farewell in Raleigh ; that the bril- 
liant belle of every occasion was as guileless and pure as 



SEA-GIFT. 325 

when I found her on the beach ; that she was unspoilt by 
the caresses of society. How I worshipped you none can 
ever know, and I longed to fall at your feet and tell you alb 
but I felt sure you would laugh at the idea of " John's 
loving," and this evening I was going to kiss your cheek, 
and bid farewell forever to my love, when you awoke — and 
thank Heaven for it 1 And now, darling, tell me again that 
you love me, for your voice, talking of love, is the sweetest 
music in the world to me." 

She smiled such a tender, loving smile, and, nestling up 
close to me, said : 

" I have loved you, John, ever since we met. When I 
clasped your hand first after the shipwreck there was a 
thrill in my heart that ever came back when you were near 
roe. So fearful was I that you might detect this feeling, that 
I tried to be reserved and silent in your presence, and even 
avoided you as much as possible. Conscious of my own 
love, I felt, child as I was, that every one else knew it, and 
hence my extreme sensitiveness at any connection of our 
names together. You doubtless remember the scene with 
Mrs. Smith, when you were asleep in the hall, or pretending 
to be. That explained the nature of my feelings. I shrank 
from the position I seemed to occupy — that of awaiting your 
love, and of being trained to suit that love if you pleased 
to confer it. While I saw you so full of Lulie and Lillian I 
buried my feelings in my own heart, and strove strenuously 
to crush them out of existence ; but there were times when 
you were tender and loving to me, and then they came re- 
sistlessly. Do you remember one night, years ago, when 
we were out on the stoop, and you took my hand and held 
it awhile ? No words can ever tell how I have treasured up 
that little scene. When you told me farewell, the night of 
our departure for Europe, and I gave you the curl, it was 
an earnest pledge of what I faithfully performed." 

'Darling, do not speak of Lulie and Lillian. One \vas only 



32G SEA- GIFT. 

the passing object of boyish affection, and the other a heart- 
less though brilliant woman, who flattered me by her notice 
into an admiration that was as vain as it was transient. 
Dearest Lottie, your heart believes me, I know, when I vow 
that the purest, fondest love of my nature is yours, that 
without it all life is void and blank. Darling, have you loved 
me always, have you never wavered in your love, as affec- 
tions more worthy, but none more devoted than mine, have 
been laid at your feet ?" 

" Never, John. No faintest shadow of love for another 
has ever passed across my mind, and the only pleasure I 
took in the attention I may have received has been the 
thought that, if others see aught in me to love, perhaps, 
when we meet, he will." 

"He being myself?" I asked, looking at her with a smile. 

"He being yourself. There, I have made enough unlady- 
like confessions for one afternoon ; but 'tis all a proof of my 
trust and confidence in you." 

"As God shall help me it is not misplaced," and I lifted 
her hand tenderly to my lips. " Never was man as proud 
of as beautiful and pure a love as I am of yours, and never 
was a love guarded and cherished as I will yours, and I will 
seek no higher happiness on earth than to keep that dear 
brow as bright and beautiful as now.' Darling, look into my 
eyes and read the truth of love." 

She looked, and would have read, perhaps, had not the 
door opened just then, and mother entered from her shop- 
ping excursion. As she saw us sitting lovingly together, Car- 
lotta's hand in mine, she was so utterly astounded that she 
stood without moving, her hands full of bundles, which kept 
dropping on the floor. 

To prevent further embarrassment, I rose from my seat, 
and taking mother's hand, led her to Carlotta. 

" She is going to be my wife, mother," I said, and without 
waiting to hear her reply, left the room. 



SEA-GIFT. 327 

How bright and beautiful all nature seemed. The cloud- 
less sky, the rich green foliage, and the fragrant roses scent- 
ing the evening air — all were in unison with my heart. The 
very birds in the lawn seemed to twitter congratulations. 
Nothing could have ruffled my temper ; a bootblack might 
have thrown his brush in my face, and I would have picked 
it up for him with a smile. I felt that I could even be kind 
and courteous to Miss Finnock. 

In this pleasant frame of mind I went in to tea, and found 
the two gentlemen and Mrs. Marshman at our table. Mrs. 
M., after inquiries about Carlotta, and some compliments to 
her beauty, thought of a note for me, from Miss Finnock ; 
and, as she gave it to me, said that Sappho had been quite 
indisposed all day, and had suffered severely from her fright, 
and the shock of the cold water. 

Excusing myself, I opened the little three cornered note, 
and read : 

" Will the generous and unselfish preserver of my life do 
me the favor to call this evening at our parlor, No. — , that 
I may unburden my heart of its gratitude, and offer a heca- 
tomb of thanks to his self-sacrificing spirit. Call at eight. 

Waiting." 

In much smaller writing, just beneath this, were some 
verses, as usual, across which she had drawn her pen, as if 
to erase them, taking care, however, to leave them sufficiently 

legible- — 

"But for thy hand I might have slept 

Deep in the bosom of yon lake, 
And no one for me would have wept, 

And none have wished that I might wake." 

That's the first sensible poetry you ever wrote, I muttered, 
as I read it. But there was more : 

" I would not shun the wild waves' wrath, 

Could we sink clasping hand in hand, 
To walk together pearly paths 

Of mermaids, down the coral strand." 



328 SEA-GIFT. 

You ought to have said " path," Saph ; you've spoiled 
your rhyme ; and " mermaids" and a " coral strand," out in 
this little lake, are very much strained, but so are the verses. 
I was, as I have stated, in a pleasant frame of mind, and 
thus jested to myself with the verses as I read them. The 
next verse, however, put the case a little more strongly : 

" I fain would seek a watery grave, 

To dwell with thee in grottoes bright, 
Or roam through halls where the sea- weeds wave, 

And love would make the darkness light." 

To think of marrying her anywhere ! much less down in 
a grotto, with sea-weeds and bad colds, and coral, etc. No, 
I could not "fain," as she did ; but I glanced at my watch 
as I rose from the table, and found that it wanted a quarter 
of eight. Fifteen minutes with a Partaga, and I tapped 
at the door of her parlor. Miss Finnock after Carlotta ! 
'Twas like a dessert of nutgalls after Hymettean honey ; but 
I felt that the necessary exercise of my ingenuity would be 
rather pleasant than otherwise, and looked forward to our 
interview, with anticipated pride in my skilful retrogression. 

When I entered I found Miss Finnock reclining in an easy 
chair, and looking as little like her Lesbian nomenclatress as 
scant strings of hair, an unmade, stiff figure, and pale blue 
eyes, in a sallow face, could make her. She smiled a faint 
little welcome, and pointed me to a seat in front of her. 

" Please lower the gas," she said, shading her eyes with 
her hand ; "you must excuse me, Mr. Smith, for seeing you 
in such deshabille, but I felt sure you would appreciate this 
liberty, and feel more free and unrestrained than if I had pre- 
pared formally to see you." 

" I do appreciate and thank you for your consideration," 
1 said, feeling assured that if she had known how different 
was the effect of her deshabille from what she intended it 
should be, she would not have been so considerate. 



SEA-GIFT. 329 

"I sent for you, Mr. Smith," she continued, in a whisper- 
ing kind of voice, "that I might express my gratitude for 
your heroic efforts to save me yesterday." 

I would have suspected any one else of irony, but I knew 
she was in earnest. 

" Really, Miss Finnock, you overestimate my conduct," I 
said ; " I must be candid with you, and tell you that I was 
doing all I could to save myself, which was almost impossi- 
ble with yourself and Miss Rurlestone on my arms." 

She looked at me with a queer little smile, and said: 
" What a trying ordeal for you ! If no boat had been near 
us, 'twould have been an effectual test of your love, indeed. 
Would you have found it difficult to have made a choice, if 
you had seen you could not save but one?" 

" Not at all," I replied, hoping she would construe the 
preference as intended for herself, and let the subject rest. 

She played with the tassel of her wrapper, and said 
softly, " Which would you have chosen?" 

I pretended not to have heard, and asked if she had suf- 
fered any serious inconvenience from the accident ? 

"Not much," she said, with something of a sigh in her 
tone. "I have been feeble to-day, but hope to gain strength 
rapidly. I expect to take a stroll every morning before 
breakfast, and to ride with brother in the afternoons." 

It was a very fine opening for engagements ; but 1 had 
had enough of strolls, and so I said nothing. There was a 
pauso of some length, during which I saw a scrap of paper 
lying on the table, and as my name was on it, I looked at it 
more closely. The light in the room was very dim, and 
Miss Finuock was all the while stealing quick glances at me; 
besides, I knew 'twas highly improper to read it, yet under 
all these difficulties I managed to make out its purport. It 
was a note from Miss Belle Monte, Miss Finnock's dearest 
friend and adviser, to her "precious Saph," telling her that 
I was only trifling with her, that her brother had certain 



330 SEA-GIFT. 

information that I was engaged to Miss Rurlestone ; that my 
attentions to Miss F. were all insincere ; that the best thing 
to do was to secure an interview with me, and, on my first 
committal, discard me promptly and finally. 

I now saw that I had been invited to her parlor that she 
might have the credit of dismissing me, and I resolved that 
say what she would, I would not, by any reply, give her an 
opportunity of so doing. 

" When do you think of leaving?" she asked, at length, 
lifting her head wearily from her hand. 

" We will leave to-morrow or next day for Newport, where 
we will spend some weeks before going home." 

"Oh, that is too soon," she said; "you have not seen 
enough of the Springs." 

" As I have not seen my parents in several years, and came 
on here to meet them, I must regulate my movements by 
theirs. Besides," I continued, " they were here some time 
before I came, and desire a change — at least, Miss Rurlestone 
does, I am sure — as she has captured every heart here, and 
perhaps pines for more." This I said a little maliciously. 

" Miss Rurlestone can probably account for your filial 
devotion — at least gossip says so." 

" Gossip knows very little about such matters," I replied, 
cautiously. 

"But is gossip wrong in this instance?" 

" Oh, I must not commit myself," I said, with a forced 
smile. 

" You are so tantalizing," she said, throwing her tassel at 
me, " and that reminds me that you promised to complete 
that unfinished sentence soon." 

" What unfinished sentence ?" I asked, with pretended 
ignorance. 

"You must be forgetful, indeed ; do you not remember 
your promise when we parted yesterday morning?" 

" Pardon me ; I do remember now," and instantly the 



SEA-GIFT. 331 

thought flashed on me that I would candidly inform her of 
my intended flirtation, confess my sin, ask her forgiveness, 
and thus prevent her acting on Miss Belle Monte's advice. 
" 1 recollect now distinctly the sentence to which you refer, 
and its intended termination. My remarks were made in 
the same light style in which we were conversing, and I had 
no idea you would attach sufficient importance to anything 
I said to think of it at all afterwards. I was about to ask, 
if J loved you — if I offered my heart — would you reject it? 
I " 

" That's what I suspected, sir," she cut in before I could 
finish, and with a deprecatory wave of her hand dismissing 
what I had said as painful, "and while the suspicion flat- 
tered it pained me." 

"But, Miss Finnock," I said, hurriedly, "you certainly 
misun " 

" Flattered, indeed, I was," she went on, without allow- 
ing my interruption, " because one so noble and gifted as 
yourself had conferred on me the honor o% his love, and 
pained that I must refuse it." 

I was too much astonished to reply, while she went on : 

" But, Mr. Smith, while a calm review of my own feelings 
forces me to discard you, or if that is too harsh a word, to ask 
you to be only my friend, I can assure you that our brief 
intercourse has been exceedingly pleasant to me. It will 
ever be an oasis in the desert of my past, and I trust that 
the rainbow of mutual regard and esteem will ever arch 
brightly o'er our pathways, however diverse they may be. 
And when Time's fingers have plastered over the scars I 
regret to inflict, and you have found another love, whose 
voice may be sweeter, and eye brighter, and heart dearer 
than mine, I hope you will not think of this evening with 
anger, but with the pleasure of forgiveness." 

" With pleasure, certainly," I managed to edge in, as she 
drew her breath. 



332 SEA-GIFT. 

"And at your life's close," she went on, in her peculiar 
strain, " may your barque furl its sails in a peaceful harbor, 
and having bosomed" (Sapphic for breasted) "every wave, 
anchor safely there." . 

As she paused, I broke in 

" Miss Finnock, you have wofully misinterpreted my 
meaning. I was only jesting, as I thought you were ; and 
my words had no more serious import than the verses in a 
bon-bon" 

"I hardly expected that you would thus try to evade the 
subject, Mr. Smith. But I have too much consideration for 
your feelings to place your name on my list of rejected 
ones. The result of our interview shall be strictly entre 
nous." 

" Your list must be immensely long, if you put every 
name down with as little reason as you have mine. I will 
leave you, Miss Finnock ; for I can gain nothing in a contest 
with a lady who makes half the addresses she rejects." 
This I said without thought, being thrown off my guard by 
her treatment ; and the moment after I had closed the door 
I felt like going back to ask her pardon. Pride, however, 
suggested that she had overstepped the bounds of womanly 
delicacy in her conduct towards me, and that she must take 
outside treatment. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 



Perhaps there was never a betrothal made under more fa 
vorable auspices than Carlotta's and mine. Perfect love 
and confidence towards each other, and the most entire 
approval of all interested in our welfare ! When we met, 
father pressed my hand most cordially in token of his sanc- 
tion, and mother kissed me, saying, as she did so : 



SEA-GIFT . 333 

" My dear boy, it is a consummation I have devoutly 
prayed for. You have won a prize, indeed, John ; cherish 
it fondly." 

To which my reply was, of course, redundantly affirmative 
and sempiternally votive. 

As we were preparing to leave for Newport the day fol- 
lowing I did not see Miss Finnock again, and was very glad 
of it, as our interview could not have been pleasant ; and, 
in fact, I thought the rest of the party treated me with sud- 
den coldness and reserve when we met at the table. 

The night preceding our departure there was a grand ball 
at the Union, and though I had the honor of escorting Car- 
lotta, her card was so full of engagements that I could only 
stand off and admire her, as a throng of her devotees sur- 
rounded her. 

As blind as love is said to be, it is, nevertheless, very 
much affected by what others think of its object ; and, be- 
sides flattering our own taste, it very much enhances our 
devotion to feel that others love what we love. Leander 
would never have swum the Hellespont if no one else had 
cared for Hero. 

With all the fond pride of ownership I watched the crowd 
that flocked to Carlotta's side, when a set closed, begging 
the honor of a dance, striving to catch a smile, and weary- 
ing her with ceaseless and multitudinous attention ; and, as 
I marked the disappointment on the faces of a score, and the 
conscious triumph of him who led her out, I thought that if 
they thus sought the pleasure of a moment with her, how 
supremely blest was I to own her love, and hold her promise 
to be mine for life. 

I was selfish enough to want her all to myself, and brooked 
but poorly the immense popularity that engaged her time 
and kept her from me. 

At Newport it was the same thing. Her fame had pre- 
ceded her, and many of her Saratoga beaux followed her 



334 SEA-GIFT. 

thither. Her appearance in the ball room at the Ocean 
House was the signal for the desertion of other belles, and 
our drives on the beach were series of stares, of envy from 
the ladies and of admiration from the men. It was amusing 
to mark the difference of expression on the faces of the occu- 
pants of a buggy or landau as it rolled past us ; the gen- 
tleman invariably gazing at her, with a smile, as we ap- 
proached, and turning his head to look back as we passed ; 
the lady looking straight ahead, with a half curl on her lip, as 
if she would say, " Umph ! she is not so beautiful after all." 

It was not till we left Newport, and were returning to 
dear old quiet Carolina, that I began to realize that Car- 
lotta was indeed my own. Herrara parted with us in 
New York, taking the steamer for Havana, and promising 
to bring his bride to see us the next winter. 

After spending some days in the metropolis we started 
home, and then I was happy to sit by Carlotta's side in 
the train, whose very rattle made our conversation private, 
and talk of our future ! There is no period so fraught with 
pleasure to lovers as that when, the first extravagance of the 
proposal and acceptance over, they sober down into conver- 
sation about their plans and prospects ; when they talk of 
the home they are going to have, and how it will be fur- 
nished ; when they tell of how they will live, and what they 
will have for dinner ; when they make little confidences of 
their foibles of disposition and temper, that they may know 
how never to hurt each other's feelings ; when they each 
draw pictures of their everyday life, that is to be, and dwell 
like epicures at a feast on the details ; she telling of the nice 
cosy breakfast, with just two cups and saucers ; of the fine 
cigars she will light for him, as she kisses him goodbye till 
dinner ; of the pretty key basket she will carry on her arm, 
all the "long, dreary morning," till he comes back; of the 
afternoon nap, while she fingers his hair ; of the evening 
drive, of the slippers ready for him after tea, of the " hate- 



SEA-GIFT. 335 

ful newspaper" taken out of his hands that he may talk 
with her ! Bright little heart ! is there no tear, no frown, no 
headache in your picture? He telling of his compliments 
to her rolls and coffee, of his invariable kiss at parting, of 
his constant thought of her during the hours of business, 
of his haste to return, of his often pretending to be sick 
that she may nurse him in her sweet way, of the many 
thoughtful gifts he will bring her, of his helping to keep 
house and stealing her sugar, of his leaning on the piano 
while she sings his favorite songs, of her head upon his 
shoulder and his arm around her waist, as they sit together 
under the moonlight in their little porch, with all the neces- 
sary vines and flowers. When they both are thinking, yet 
carefully avoid speaking, of another tender phase of the 
picture — when something, not a chair, is rocking in their 
chamber, and a rack at the fire is full of white cloths, when 
the gifts he brings now are gutta percha and coral, and, in- 
stead of the moon the lamp is kept burning all night. 

When we got back to Wilmington I found a letter for me 
from Ben, inviting me up to his wedding. 

It was a characteristic epistle, and went on to tell me that 
as he " had laid by his crap" and was " outer the grass" he 
had concluded to take unto himself as an helpmeet, Miss 
Viny Dodge, though he frankly stated that his "daddy" 
said he "hadn't no more business with a wife than er 
oyshter has for gluves." 

As the letter was dated two weeks back I knew that Miss 
Viny was already Mrs. Bemby, so I sent my congratula- 
tions, and regrets that I could not have been present, and a 
bridal gift for Mrs. B. 

Our own arrangements were, that I was to return to 
Chapel Hill, complete my senior year, and be married to 
Carlotta immediately after my graduation ; and then we 
were to go to Germany, that I might complete my law 
course at Heidelbei'g. 



336 SEA-GIFT. 

When Ned and I met again in our old room at the Uni- 
versity, we both had so much to tell that we devoted several 
nights to the rehearsal of our adventures. Ned had spent 
his vacation at the White Sulphur Springs, and was, of 
course, well charged with news of himself. As each of us 
was more anxious to talk than to listen, our conversation 
was a series of mutual interruptions, and this difficulty of 
communication, perhaps, aided us in our studies. 

When we finally got to work in earnest we found our 
position as Seniors very pleasant in every way. Our studies, 
though deeper and more comprehensive, were not so tedious, 
and allowed us more time for general reading. Ned was 
striving hard for the Valedictory, while I looked forward 
with some hope to the same honor ; our rivalry, however, 
was always pleasant. With my studies and readings, and, 
above all, with Carlotta's sweet letters, I found time did not 
drag so heavily as I had expected when I parted from her, 
and almost before I knew the summer was gone the winter 
vacation came on. I went home and spent the time in one 
bright dream of happiness. I was with Carlotta 1 

I returned to college again in January, full of ambitious 
visions. Five more months and, with a brow burdened 
with honors, I would stand upon the rostrum of the Univer- 
sity, and while the crowded hall was breathless with my elo- 
quence, I would meet the light of Carlotta's eyes, and in their 
raptured gaze find my best applause. Then would come 
our wedding, arranged with all the splendor wealth could 
command ; then a term of honor at Heidelberg ; and then, 
with Fame's temple before me, I would climb until I stood 
upon its very dome. But across these bright visions there 
drifted now the red cloud of war, and in its murky bosom 
muttered our impending ruin. 

I found the University, as I had left Wilmington, all 
ablaze with . excitement over the secession of South Caro- 
lina. The number of students was much smaller than usual, 



SEA-GIFT. 337 

and many of those who came returned to their homes, as 
State after State left the Union. Our noble Commonwealth, 
with her resinous nature, stuck tenaciously to the Union, 
and when she tore herself loose at last, adhered as closely 
to the flag of the Confederacy. 

Letters poured in upon me from home. Father and 
mother urged me to remain at college till the session closed, 
and get my diploma, as it would be but a short delay, but I 
was impatient ; I wanted to be preparing for the fray, and 
Carlotta's letter decided me. It was full of the fire of her 
soul, and while it breathed the tenderest love for me, it was 
fervid with patriotism. 

" I know that study will be impossible amid the excite- 
ment of the times," she said, in conclusion, "and you will 
accomplish nothing by remaining at the University till the 
close of the session. You know, dear John, that I love you 
more than all else on earth, but if I did not love my coun- 
try, too, I would be unworthy of your love, and if you were 
unwilling to defend her, you would be unworthy of mine. 
But I know your noble heart, and trust its fervid zeal. 

" Remember, dearest, my hand shall gird your armor on, 
and my prayers shall shield your head." 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

When I reached Wilmington I found everything in a stir. 
Everbody wore a cockade, a miniature flag, or a uniform. 
Officers, with waving plumes, rode furiously up and down 
the streets ; the roll of drums, as companies marched in 
from the camps, was heard at all hours of the day ; and 
with every whistle of the train arose the thrilling shout of 
legions, passing on to the front. Ladies pricked their ten- 
der fingers sewing the stout gray cloth, or thronged the 

15 



338 SBA-GIFT. 

balconies to wave their dainty handkerchiefs at their favor- 
ites in the ranks. 

War was in its youth ; the scowl of battle had not yet 
gathered on its brow, and the flowers with which Beauty 
strewed its pathway were not yet bedewed with the red 
drops of carnage, nor withered in the smoke and heat of 
conflict. 

Father had already raised a company, up at the plan- 
tation in Wayne, and they were now out at the camp 
of instruction near town. When I joined, they compli- 
mented me by electing me second lieutenant, and I felt as 
proud of the little yellow bars on my collar as Lord Dred- 
dlington did of his Garter. 

What a pastime was soldiering then ; sleeping in tents for 
the first time, cooking our own meals, going out with a new 
gun to play sentry, marching through the dress parade in 
the evening, before the long line of carriages, filled with our 
sweethearts from the town 1 

I had moved out to the camp, and though it was very near 
town, I had to get a pass whenever I wished. to see Carlotta. 
The very novelty of this, however, rendered it pleasant, and 
I no doubt wearied the commandant by my frequent appli- 
cations. Our marriage had been fixed for the 15th of June, 
but as our company expected to leave for Richmond by the 
12th, we made the appointment nearer by ten days, and on 
the 5th of June, 1861 — a fair, cloudless morning — we were 
married. It was a plain, unostentatious wedding — different, 
indeed, from what I had anticipated. Only a few friends 
with us, a slight collation in the parlor, a short excursion to 
Smithville, and it was all over. Yet Carlotta was dearer to 
me, in her simple Swiss muslin, than, she would have been 
in satin and lace ; and I felt, as she looked up radiantly into 
my face, that she was prouder of me, in my suit of gray, 
than if I had worn the finest cloth. 

On our return from Smithville I found a short letter from 



SEA-GIFT. 339 

Ben, who had enrolled his name with our company, but had 
not yet come down to join us : 

" Dear John," he wrote, "when Curnal Smith was up here, 
I couldent leave on account of Viny, but it's come now, and 
a fine one it is, and Viny is doin' well ; so I'll be down 
sum'ers about the last of the week, i hate orful to leave 
Viny and the baby, and it'll be mity lonesome at night, not 
to trot him on my nee, but I be dogged if itne goin' to see 
the yankeys get into north Carolina if my carciss will help 
to stop 'em. Less me and you git together when we fight, 
cause I want somebody ime cwainted with to see me 'mongst 
the balls, and it'll help me to keep game. 

" if i don't git to Wilminton in time, i'll meet you at Golds- 
boro'. Till Death, yours, Ben." 



CHAPTER XL. 



Father, mother, Carlotta and I are standing in the dim 
light of dawn, under the old shed at the depot. We lack only 
Lulie to be the same party who stood there five years before, 
waiting for the train. How things have changed 1 The 
little dark eyed girl that, was gazing out of the car window 
then is the beautiful woman who is weeping and clinging to 
my arm now. Instead of mirth and cheerfulness, all around 
us now is sadness and gloom. Great rough fellows are 
dropping their first tears, as they strain a sobbing wife or 
little child to their bosom for the twentieth time. 

Delicate youths, wearing a brave face in spite of their 
quivering lips, are holding in their arms fond mothers, who 
are putting back the hair from their idol's forehead, perhaps 
for the last time ; and even those who have no one to bid 
them farewell, and who are attempting to look careless and 
indifferent, often lift their cuffs to their averted eyes. 

We have no piles of baggage now ; a plain pine box, 
filled with the delicacies loving hands have made, and a roll 
of blankets, are all that we check for. 



340 SEA-GIFT. 

How Carlotta clings to me, sobbing on my neck ! 

" Oh John, my husband, h >w can I give you up ? And 
to think that I bade you go ! I did not know what it was to 
part from you. Oh, if you are hurt, it will kill me — I know 
it will kill me. My God, protect him, for thy Son's sake 1" 

I kissed her again and again, and told her to look on the 
bright side ; I reminded her of our duty to our country, and 
spoke of war as a field of honor, not of danger. But the 
agony of our separation was too close at hand, and my own 
heart too near breaking to reason her into composure and 
fortitude, and I gave way to my own grief, and mingled my 
tears with hers. 

A whistle now sounded far across the river, then, with 
the roar of the approaching train, rose the thrilling cheers 
of its gallant freight. And soon the ferry boat, dimly seen 
through the mists, her very bulwarks crowded with "men 
in gray, strikes out into the stream, and in brazen cadences 
the glorious strains of Dixie float across the smoky waters. 
Nearer and nearer comes the cheering, louder and louder 
swells the music, and in the red light of the rising sun 
gleams the Stars and Bars. As they neared the wharf father 
said : " Come, John, we must get our seats before the crowd 
comes in. Mary ! God bless you, good bye. Good bye, 
Carlotta, my daughter !" and he walked with a firm step up 
the platform into the car. A mother's kiss and tearful beni- 
son, a sobbing scream and a convulsive clasp of my darling's 
arms, and I took my place in the train. Bowing my head 
on my hands I scarce heard the murmur of voices, the ring- 
ing of bells, or the quick thrang of the kettle drum, as the 
regiment from the boat formed and marched to the coaches 
assigned them. As the long train jerked forward I thrust 
my head out of the window and caught sight of our car- 
riage and its two weeping occupants. They saw me at the 
same instant, and, with their handkerchiefs, waved farewell 
What an acme of agony in that last view ! 



SEA -GIFT. 341 

We had reached Goldsboro before I had recovered my 
spirits, and I was gazing thoughtfully out of the window as 
we ground our way slowly under the shed, when a rough 
hand was laid upon my shoulder, and looking up I recognized 
Ben. He was the same awkward looking specimen of hu- 
manity, clad in a suit of copperas striped homespun. In- 
stead of the old flapped hat he now wore an oilskin cap, 
which he had purchased that morning, and which still had 
the price card stuck on the brim. His hair was still long 
and sandy, though a trifle darker than when we went fish- 
ing together ; his upper lip, with the scar across it, was 
covered with a soft yellowish fuzz, that told of an incipient 
moustache, and his chin was covered with stiff wiry little 
curls, that looked like the vegetation of freckle seed. Eough 
and uncouth as was his appearance, I felt, as I grasped his 
hand, that it was as full of nerve as Virginius', and that the 
old brown suit would always be the first hid in the smoke 
of battle. 

" I am glad, indeed, to have you with us, Ben," said father, 
as they shook hands, " John here is a gloomy companion 
He has hardly spoken to me since we left Wilmington." 

"Well, I tell you, curnell," said Ben, laying a bag full of 
biscuit on the seat in front of him, "it streaked my gizzard 
powerful to leave Viny and the baby, and when I went to 
kiss the little varmint farwell the tears run round my eyes 
like rain in a gourd bloom ; but I couldn't make up my mind 
to sneak at home, and let somebody else git shot for my 
folks." 

" You have expressed your patriotism very pointedly," 
said father, clearing his throat to deliver his favorite speech 
on States' rights. "Our fair and sunny land is threatened 
with invasion by the Vandals of the North, and it becomes 
every man's duty to resist them. We are clearly on the side 
of right. The original compact of the thirteen States was, 
most evidently, no surrender of sovereignty. Each State 



342 SEA-GIFT. 

retained its own laws, and was only sufficiently amenable to 
the general Government to preserve unity. The very inves- 
titure of each State with the right to change its laws, to 
execute criminals, and to regulate its own elections, proves 
its sovereign independence. Do you not think so?" 

" I don'' know much 'bout politicks," said Ben, looking 
somewhat flattered that father should have asked his opinion 
on so deep a subject, " but seems to me that States is folks, 
and folks is sholy got the right to undo what they done 
therselves." 

As I had heard these old arguments, differently dished, in 
every conversation or debate since the first of January, I 
was much relieved by more troops getting on board at the 
next depot, and crowding father and Ben out of their talk. 

We passed Weldon in the evening, through Petersburg in 
the night, and were in regular camp the next day. Then 
war began in earnest ; our lines were formed in front of can- 
non instead of carriages ; instead of a flower-wreathed tar- 
get a man in blue stood in front of our guns, and our bay- 
onets now were sometimes red when we unfixed them. 

But do not fear, patient reader, that I am going to inflict 
a long series of war incidents upon you. You have heard 
and read all that I could tell a dozen times ; and though no 
pen has yet arisen to blazon North Carolina's deeds, I will 
only point to the battle record of the South, and resting her 
fame on the glorious valor of her sons, pass on, with only 
one chapter of letters, to the close of our struggle, when the 
banner we had borne through four years of shot and shell 
was furled, and the land we had bled for — conquered 1 



9EA-GIFT. 343 



CHAPTER XLI. 

Wilmington, N. C, Oct., 1862. 

My Precious Husband— The little angel God promised us 
has come, and I am so happy. If you were only here, to 
see the little cherub nestling by me, I would be too full of 
bliss for utterance. To think it is yours and mine, darling ! 
I feel sometimes that I must send it to you that you may 
see how beautiful and sweet it is. Mother says it is like 
me, but I see in it nothing but your image. I think it no- 
tices me some already, though it is only a week old, but I 
know there never was such an intelligent baby; the very 
first name it lisps shall be " papa," and it shall say its little 
prayers each night for dear papa's safety. I often weep 
over it, darling, as I think of the danger and hardship you 
are exposed to, and Oh 1 I do pray so fervently that no 
harm may befall you. We are making a fearful sacrifice 
for our country. God grant her independence may be won ! 

There is an old friend of yours here now — Frank, or rather 
Col. Paning, as he calls himself. He relates wonderful sto- 
ries of his achievements in South Carolina, and wears his 
three stars very proudly. He is all devotion to Lulie, and 
report says they are to be married soon. Poor, infatuated 
girl, how I pity her 1 

We are getting on very pleasantly in our domestic affairs ; 
the servants are all faithful and efficient, and Mr. Bemby 
reports excellent crops up at the plantation. 

I would write more but feel wearied even with this, and 
mother, who has propped me up in bed, threatens to take 
away my paper. 

Our love and kisses to dear father. Johnnie sends his 

little love to papa. As ever your fond 

Carlotta. 

****** * * ** 



344 SEA-GIFT. 

Camp near Gettysburg, July 3d, 1863. 
My Dear Wife : 

I write to-night, because I know you will be uneasy when 
you read the telegraphic accounts of to-day's fight. I am 
grateful to say that I am well, and cannot even boast a 
scratch, though I have been to-day where a thought of life 
seemed folly. The hardest conflict of the war has taken 
place here, and even as I write the very air seems burdened 
with the groans of the wounded and dying. The loss of life 
has been fearful indeed, as the reckless courage of our sol- 
diers drove them into the jaws of death. Our great com- 
mander and our men did all that human strength could do, 
but the position of the enemy was impregnable, and all our 
efforts to dislodge them were futile. To-morrow we retire, 
though we are not whipped, and if Meade dare leave his 
mountain entrenchments we will put him to utter rout. 
Would to God our retreat were all I must write, but the 
old proverb about the plurality of misfortune is but too 
true. Last night Ned, my dearest friend, died, and to-day 
father was taken prisoner by the enemy ; he was at the 
head of our company, in a charge which was repulsed with 
heavy loss, and when we fell back, in some disorder, he 
was left within the Yankee lines. We trust that he is not 
wounded or hurt in any way, as, when last seen, he was 
standing erect, waving his sword, and calling on his men to 
rally. He will, I hope, soon get a communication thi*ough 
the lines to some of you. Even if he is sent to Elmira, 
or Point Lookout, he has so many personal friends at the 
North that he may make his situation comfortable. Help 
mother to bear up bravely, for she will need help. Prison 
life, however, is not so bad if one can get funds to purchase 
comforts, and you know the gentleman who is now holding 
father's property for him in New York will attend to that 
as soon as he hears that he is in prison. But, oh, darling ! 
how my heart bleeds to write of poor Ned's death. You re- 



SEA-GIFT. 3-if) 

member he came on to Virginia 30011 after we did, but bis 
company was placed in another regiment, so that he was 
in yesterday's fight while we were not engaged. Last 
night, about dark, he sent for me to come to him, in the 
field hospital. When I reached his side I found him in a 
stupor, from which he roused only enough to recognize me, 
and faintly call my name, when he again sunk into that 
ever deepening coma that seems like the very mantle of 
approaching death. He had been str*uck in the breast with 
a fragment of shell, and his lungs were completely torn to 
pieces. The surgeons, seeing his hopeless condition, had 
given him an opiate and left him to die, turning their atten- 
tion to those who could be saved. He was breathing with 
great difficulty, and with long intervals between the gasps, 
as I sat down by him and took his hand in mine. His 
pulse was scarcely perceptible, and I felt that his life would 
not last through the night. You, Carlotta, who know how 
I loved him, know how deep was my grief as I saw him 
slowly dying, his poor torn breast pouring out its life-blood 
with every labored breath. I sat, watching him in silence, 
'till midnight, when he opened his eyes and attempted to 
sit up, but was too weak ; he then commenced talking, in a 
confused strain, of angel armies he had seen marching all 
night, in white battle lines, over the blue sky, and of how 
they had formed a hollow square around his cot ; and how 
their commander had approached and laid bare his bosom, 
that they all might see his wound, and how they had sung 
a song of triumph and filed back up the blue vault, out of 
sight. He then seemed to become conscious of his condi- 
tion, and pressing my hand feebly, said : " I can't last much 
longer, John, but I am ready to die, thank God ! Tell mother 
I said so. And, John, let me be buried under the old pines 
at home." He closed his eyes and was silent for an hour or 
more ; when he again opened them there was that strange 
vacancy in their look that is Death's signet, and the tone oi 

15* 



846 SEA-GIFT. 

his voice was husky and cold, as he murmured, " The white 
army — has come — a-gain. I must — go. For Heaven, for- 
ward !" 

He made an effort to spring up as he uttered the last 
word, but his strength failed, and he fell across my lap, 
dead. The bravest spirit that ever led a charge was march- 
ing through the pearly gates ! 

I had him buried this morning before the battle, and 
marked the grave, so it may be easily found. You must go 
down to Mr. Cheyleigh's and tell them how he died. 

I close now to visit Ben, who is suffering with a broken 
arm. Love to mother, and a kiss to my dear boy. 

May God bless and preserve you all. 

Yours devotedly, 

John. 



Our Country Home, Oct., 1864. 
My Dear Boy : 

Though it has been nearly three months since your saint- 
ed father's death, this is the first time I have felt strong 
enough to rouse myself from my tears and grief, that I may 
write to you. My heart is broken, and I have nothing now 
to live for. I can only pray God for patience to wait His 
summons. But, my dear child, only those who are bereaved 
know how hard it is to say " Thy will be done !" 

Sometimes I feel, so full of deep despair, as I look to the 
dark, lonely life before me, that I cannot help murmuring ; 
and did I not know, from all our past, that God does all in 
love and infinite wisdom, He would seem now my bitterest 
enemy. Christ 1 pardon the feeble rebellion of my bur- 
dened soul ! 

Dear Carlotta is as kind and tender as she can be, and 
does all she can to comfort and cheer me, but there are 



SEA-GIFT. 34* 

times when I feel that I shall die, when I think of your poor 
father's languishing on his ccarse prison bed, with no com- 
forts near, and only his enemies to smooth his pillow and 
attend to his wants. I know how he longed for me at his 
bedside, and how his dying thoughts came back to his dear 
old home. John 1 it almost kills me to think I shall never 
see him again, never hear his voice calling "Mary" any 
more. 

I hope and pray now for the close of the war, that I may 
go with you to Elmira and bring home his dear remains to 
our quiet graveyard — where mine, I trust, will soon rest 
beside them. 

But I must not fill my whole letter with sadness. Dear 
little Johnnie is running all about now, and lisps our names 
very sweetly. Carlotta is holding him on her knee near me 
as I write, and he says, " Tiss papa for me." 

You see from the date of our letter that we are up at the 
plantation. We brought most of our valuables up with us, 
and left the house in charge of Miss Wiggs, our housekeeper, 
who has taken her brother, the cripple, to stay with her, 
and says she is not afraid of the Yankees. All our servants 
left us except Horace ana Hannah, who are touchingly 
faithful in their devotion. The negroes up here are too far 
from Federal influence to be much demoralized, and Mr. 
Bemby is gathering a very fine crop. Since we left Wil- 
mington we have heard some very sad news about Lulie 
May land. Frank Paning, you know, has been in Wilming- 
ton for more than a year, in some position that exempted 
him from service. He and Lulie have been very intimate, 
and every one expected that they would soon be married. 
Lulie made a cloister of her home, and would see no one 
but Frank, who almost lived under her roof. Of late, dark 
rumors began to be whispered about them, but no one 
believed their slanderous import. At last, however, her 
shame could be no longer concealed, and your once bright, 



348 SEA-GIFT. 

guileless little playmate is rained for ever. Frank has fled, 
no one knows whither, though many believe he has gone to 
the Federal lines, which is, I think, probable. It is but the 
result of Frank's long studied designs of evil and Lulie's too 
implicit trust and confidence. 

The blow has almost killed Dr. Mayland, whose health is 
very feeble. Carlotta has written to the poor girl, begging 
her to come up here to us, as her ruin will be less marked 
in this retired neighborhood. Lulie's mother was my dearest 
friend, and I would love and protect her child for her sake. 

Alas ! all the news we hear now is sad and gloomy. Fort 
Fisher must soon fall and Wilmington be evacuated ; and I 
fear that even our home here will not be safe from the inva- 
sion of the enemy. But we are in the hands of the Lord. 
May He deliver our struggling country ! 

Write to us often, my dear boy, for you can never know 
what a comfort are your letters to your mother's sorrowing 
heart. May God enfold you with His arms of mercy 1 is her 
earnest prayer. 



Headquarters, Aemy of Va., ) 
February 28, 1865. [ 

My Dear Smith: Your application for transfer to the 
Army of South Carolina has just been returned to us from 
the Department at Richmond, approved, and I take plvav.vre 
in enclosing it to you, together with transportation fo/ ye» it- 
self, servant and horse. We regret to give you uf-, * at 
hope that you and Bemby may render as signal serd'.e (,o 
General Johnston as you have to General Early. 
I remain, very truly yours, 

Amos Halstea'j, 
Acting Ass't Adj't Gen'l 
Major John Smith, 

of Gen. Early's staff. 



SEA-GIFT. 349 

As explanatory of this letter, I would state that, when our 
regiment first reached the Army of Virginia, it was placed 
in the old "Stonewall" brigade Ben soon began to attract 
the attention not only of the officers, but of General Jackson 
himself, for his daring bravery in battle, but chiefly for his 
skill in conducting foraging and scouting expeditions. So 
successful was he in stealing through the enemy's lines and 
gaining reliable information in regard to their strength and 
position, that General Jackson honored him with a special 
appointment for his own service. Soon after this a friend 
of father's, in high position, secured for me a place on 
Jackson's staff, and Ben and I were thus thrown together in 
many a field of danger and hair-breadth escape. After Ned's 
death, at Gettysburg, and father's capture and subsequent 
death in prison, I became more than ever attached to Ben, 
and we were fortunate in not being separated till near the 
close of'the war. When Jackson fell at Chanccllorsville we 
were both transferred to Ewell's command, and at his death 
to Early's — Ben receiving a commission as chief of scouts, 
while I was appointed aide-de-camp with the rank of major. 
After that memorable valley campaign, and when we had 
joined General Lee in the trenches around Petersburg, Ben 
was sent to General Beauregard, in South Carolina, to act 
as scout and spy ; and as I felt lonely without him, and 
General Early had little need for staff officers in the tren- 
ches, I applied for transfer, with the result indicated in the 
letter. 

When I reached the army, Johnston had, at Beauregard's 
request, been placed in command, and, with his splendid 
skill, was fighting Sherman at every step, yet drawing his 
small force farther and farther back without demoralization, 
and without a wagon's loss. 



350 SKA-GIFT. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

Eighteen hundred and sixty-five 1 Annus ircef Year of 
blood and tears, famine and oppression ! God send that 
Time's womb may be barren ere such another offspring 
shall curse our land ! 

Could one behold, as in a panorama, the South of '60 and 
the South of '65, even a devil would weep over the ruin 
wrought in five years. 

In the one picture he would see wide-spreading fields, 
with waving, luxuriant crops, worked by throngs of joyous 
light-hearted negroes, who sing, in a resounding chorus, as 
they guide their sleek teams up and down the fertile fur- 
rows ; he would see long villages of negro quarters, each 
house with its garden and patch, its pig and chickens, and 
its happy children playing at the door, while within some 
old camp-meeting hymn is mingling with the drone of the 
wheel and the clack of the loom ; he would see premises 
adorned with all the appliances of wealth, stables filled with 
blooded stock, pastures grazed by herds of purest breed, 
kennels filled with well trained dogs, gardens of roses, or- 
chards of fruit, and groves of magnificent oaks, amid which 
towers the stately mansion, its windows aglow with hospi- 
tality, and its porches thronged with fair faces and noble 
forms. 

In the other he would see the broad fields lying idle and 
waste, the ditches overflowed, the fences broken down ; no 
chorus sounds, no life is seen save in a distant corner of the 
field, where a "fourth part tenant" plows a little steer 
around an arid patch of corn. He would see the quarters 
all deserted, the children gone, the wheel still, and the loom 
silent, the very doors holding their wooden lips ajar to 
speak "desolation!" He would see dotted over the country 
tlie squalid huts of the freedmcn, their children sick, and no 



SEA-GIFT. 351 

one to secure the doctor's pay, that he may attend ; their 
mortgage on the crop, made to the nearest merchant, for 
their year's support, consumed in midsummer by their own 
extravagance, and the invariable bull, scarce able to plow 
an hour in the day for want of food. Oh, Boston ! "Hub of 
the Universe I" " Cradle of Freedom !" You drove a sharp 
trade indeed with Africa's children when you gave them 
the ballot in exchange for life, and comfort, and home! He 
would see the mansion amid the oaks, if standing at all, 
standing silent and drear, the smoke only rising from one 
chimney, the shutters all closed, and a woman in black 
walking wearily up and down the gloomy hall, while down 
in the garden, under the willow, rests a marble slab, with 
the inscription : " Killed at the battle of Somewhere." 

But, as I was saying, it was the spring of '65. 

The great army of Sherman had wound its blasting way 
from Atlanta to the sea. In its trail lay ashes and ruin ; 
lone, blackened chimneys, plundered cities, and weeping 
women. The ever ascending smoke told its course ; not the 
white smoke of honorable battle, but thick black volumes 
from burning homes, that, like the ink of a recording angel, 
wrote their hellish deeds upon the scroll of the sky. 

Day after day our wary General fell slowly back before 
thrice his numbers, checking them, wherever he could, with 
a fight, and retreating after the fight, ere they could crush 
him by heavier forces. Back, still back, retreating with 
undaunted hearts, but alas ! too few; skirmishing at Fay- 
etteville, battling at Averasboro', the 17th March found us 
not far from Goldsboro' and near my home ; but between 
us and that dear spot was part of Sherman's army and the 
commands of Schofield and Terry, who had met, one from 
Newbern, the other from Wilmington, in Goldsboro'. I had 
not heard from Carlotta since leaving General Lee's army, and 
for her and mother's safety I dared not hope. Mr. Bemby was 
their only protection, and with the Yankee army in Golds- 



352 SEA-GIFT. 

boro', I knew that one hour would suffice for the house to 
be rifled and themselves insulted. The agony of my sus- 
pense was terrible; to be so near home and yet not be able 
to see my wife and child. My fears and anxiety almost 
maddened me, and I seemed to hear continually their cries 
for help and protection. 

Ben and I had been sitting in our tent, as the day drew 
to a close, talking of our loved ones and thinking of some 
plan by which we could get to them, when he rose and said : 

"It's no use a talkin' 'bout it, John, I'm goin' through the 
lines ; I'll be darned if I musn't see Viny and the young 
ones." 

"I'll go with you, Ben," I said; "shall we start to- 
night?" 

" No, siree ! not ef you think much of yer head ; a Yankee 
would kill a angel ef he caught him flying in the night." 

" It will be impossible to pass them in the day," I said, 
impatient of delay. 

" Lem'me take keer of that," he said, rising; " I'm goin' to 
see Gen. Johnston now and get two days' leave of absence, 
and we'll git to the old man's to-morrow night, or the devil 
may take my nose to plow ashes."- 

He passed out under the flap of the tent, but in a second 
rushed back, dragging in an old negro man. 

"Look here, John," he exclaimed, "here's Horace, he can 
tell us somethin' 'bout our folks." 

I sprang forward to the old man, who stood grinning in 
the door, and grasped his arm. 

"Horace, for God's sake, tell me about Carlotta and 
mother ! are they safe ?" 

" Well, Marse John," said Horace, with great delibera- 
tion, looking at me with love and pride, " Sho nough, dis is 
you, but you is changed a sight sence I seen you ; you's 
puttier'n ever." 

But I was in no mood for empty compliments, and led 



SEA-GIFT. 353 

him in the tent almost rudely, as I pointed to a stool, and 
said : 

"Sit down, Horace, and don't speak another word about 
any subject till you have told me something of home." 

He shook his head slowly two or three times as he 
replied : 

" U'm — m 1 dere's news enough, Marse John, and bad at 
that." 

" Have the Yankees been at our house yet?" I asked. 

"Yes, sir, I should say they has, but they won't come 
again — not to the house." 

"Why?" I asked, leaning forward eagerly, "What will 
prevent them ?" 

" Dere 'aint no house for 'em to come to, it's done burnt 
clean to de groun'." 

" Burnt down !" exclaimed Ben and I, in one breath. 

" That it is ; but I'm mighty forgetful, here's a letter from 
Miss C'lotta." 

He took off his old torn hat, and lifting up the lining, 
took out the back of an envelope, soiled and crumpled, and 
handed it to me. I snatched it eagerly and read — 
" Dear John : 

I write on this little scrap hastily, to let you hear 
something from us. Uncle Horace, who has alone been 
faithful, promises to get it to you, if he can. The Yankees 
have taken every thing from us, and burned the house. 
Darling mother, in escaping, was struck on the head by a 
piece of falling timber, and is in a most critical condition. 
My precious boy and myself are safe. We are now at Mr. 
Bemby's, whose house escaped, though his supplies did not, 
and we have to depend on his and Uncle Horace's ingenuity 
for our daily support. I feel I shall almost go mad with 
our trouble. God help me to bear it, and forgive my wild 
wicked thoughts ! I fear you will be insane with fury 
when 1 tell you that Prank Paning was with the soldiers, 
piloting them around, and was very insulting to me. I 
cannot write more. Carlotta." 



354 SEA-GIFT. 

" May God help me to be revenged !" I shouted, crushing 
the letter in my hand, as I sprang to my feet. 

Ben rushed to my side, and, clasping our hands, we held 
our revolvers above our heads, and registered a fearful 
oath of vengeance or death. Then my feelings quieted 
down enough for me to turn to Horace, who was looking 
at us with a frightened gaze. 

" Horace, may Heaven bless you as you deserve. Here 
is the only reward I can make you now ; take it all," I said, 
drawing a large roll of Confederate money from my belt. 

" No, sir 1" said the old man, proudly, " I don't want 
nothin' for taking keer of Mistis and Miss C'lotta ; 'sides, 
that ain't no 'count 'mongst dem blue coat debbels in 
Goldsboro'." 

"When did you leave home?" asked Ben, as I put back 
my currency, rather crestfallen at Horace's very sensible 
reason for refusing it. 

" Yistiddy mornin'. I been in camp all to-day trying to 
find you and Marse John, but dere's so many solgers comin' 
and gwine I was in a pyo maze like." 

" Horace, tell me all those scoundrels did," I said, reading 
over the letter again. " Don't leave out anything." 

" Well, you see, Marse John," he said, taking off his hat 
and laying it on the ground, while he wiped his forehead 
with a very dingy red handkerchief, " we hears de Yankees 
is comin' up from Newb'n, and Mistis axes me to hide de 
silver things, an' I like a fool gets Reuben to help me, 'cause 
Reuben swears he love Mistis better'n all de Yankees in de 
world. That's how come de silver gone, in the fust place. 
Den we hears they is in Goldsboro', and next morning, by 
sun up, a whole squad comes gallopin' up to the house, and 
bust de crib door open, and gets out de corn. I was standin' 
by, and says : ' Dere ain't much corn dere, 'cause Wheeler's 
folks got some yistiddy ;' and they say, ' What Wheeler's 
folks?' skeered like. I say: 'Some folks on horses that 



SEA-GIFT. 355 

come from todes Fa'teville, and stopped all night down in 
dem woods yonder.' Den dey jumped on dere horses 'thout 
put.tin' ary foot in de stirrup, an' lumbers down de road 
'thout techin de corn." 

"But tell me about the house, Horace," I exclaimed impa- 
tiently. "I don't care about the crib and Wheeler's men." 

" I'm a gittin to it, Marse John. You see mistis was poorly, 
and was stayin' in bed, and every one de niggers le'f , an' 1 
had to cook, and tote water, an' do every thing 'bout de 
house ; an' that day, 'bout dinner time, I see a dozen blue 
coats come dustin' down de road. An' 'fore I c'd git to de 
house dey done kicked de door open, and was all over de 
rooms ; and de first man I see was Frank Paning, and he 
had on a blue newniform, too. He knowed me, and looked 
sorter mean, but put o 1 ! like he never been dere b'fore- 
They was all rippin' *md cussin' all over de house, and 
Miss C'lotta she come and stood in mistis' room door, and 
her eyes was like coals er fire ; but they never noticed her, 
only Paning say 'gim me de keys, my beauty !"' 

" The villain !" I muttered, grinding my nails into my 
flesh. 

"At last one on 'em foun' de key basket, and den dey 
begun in earness. They took out all dere was to eat in 
de pantry, and drunk up and spilt all de wine ; they eat 
some of the preserves, and bust the glass jars on de floor ; 
they kicked open de ole clock, and split the pianner led wid 
one er de weights. Then dey swore they was gwine to 
have some silver an' gold, or burn up de house ; and they 
went into mistis' room, where she was sick in de bed, and 
cussed her, and asked her where de silver was. Mistis, nor 
Miss C'lotta neither, never said a word, an' one great big 
fellow, with cross eyes, come up to de bed and say : 'Look 
here, ole gal ! that won't do ; you got to hustle out er them 
bed close; you's silver sick, I reckon.' And mistis sees 
Frank Paning then, and says : ' Mr. Paning, for de sake of 



356 SEA-GIFT. 

de pass pertect me !' an' Pairing says, 'I don't know you ; 
git up !' and two on 'em ketches mistis by de arm and jerks 
her outen de bed on de floor, and mistis faints like, while 
Miss C'lotta holds her head in her arms and cries. De 
Yankees rips up de bed and scatters de feathers all over de 
room, and when they find nothin', one on 'em say, 'Less 
leave ; and Paning steps up to Miss C'lotta and says : ' Ef 
I can't git silver I'll take a kiss,' and smacks her right on 
de cheek ; and then Miss C'lotta was mad for true. She 
jumped up quicker'n lightning and jerks a little bit er blue 
pistol outen her pocket, an' 'fore Paning could git away 
bang! went de little pistol, and Paning clap'd his hand to 
his shoulder and says, 'Damnation ! the fool has shot me,' an' 
he pulls out his sode and starts todes her, and Miss C'lotta 
was a standin' lookin' straight at -him with de little pistol 
levelled ; and a tall man, that hadn't said much, kotch Pan- 
ing by de arm, and say, ' That's a woman ; let her 'lone,' 
and den dey all leaves. Then Miss C'lotta told me to run 
and fetch some water, and when I fotch the piggin I seed 
that de house was on fire, and de room was a fillin' with 
smoke. Miss C'lotta tuk some shawls and ropped mistis up, 
and tole me to help tote her out, for de fire was all over de 
house. And then we starts out, mistis tryin' to walk, an' 
little Johnny a holden on to Miss C'lotta and cryin', and jus' 
as we gits to de front door a piece of scantlift' fell outen de 
top of de porch and hits mistis plump on de head, and she 
fell ." 

" Hush, Horace, for the love of God, hush I" I groaned, 
as I staggered to my cot in the corner. "Do not tell me 
any more. Try to make your way back to Mr. Bemby's, 
and tell Carlotta we are going to make the attempt to get 
to her. Ben, give him something to eat, please, and make 
your arrangements for our trip." 

I turned over on my face, and lay in a kind of stupor. 
The horrors of Horace's narration seemed to paralyze all 



SEA-GIFT. 357 

faculties of mind and body, and while Ben was off perfect- 
ing his arrangements, I lay through most of the night with- 
out moving, my ears ringing with Carlotta's cries of anguish, 
and my eyes scorching with the light of my burning home. 

About daybreak I awoke from a fitful slumber, full of hor- 
rid dreams, to find Ben standing near me with a large 
bundle on his arm, and a covered basket in his hand. 
" Great Heavens !" I exclaimed, springing to my feet, " this 
tame inaction will kill me. I must start now ; if you will 
not go with me, Ben, I must go alone." 

" Ben put his bundles down with great deliberation, as he 
replied : 

"John, you know I'd go to Satan's summer house with 
you if you wan't goin'to live there, but there is such a thing 
as bein' in too much hurry. Less get somethin' to eat first, 
for we ain't goin' to start till after sun up, and we can't 
stop to cook dinners. What we've got to do ain't like goin' 
to preachin' with your sweetheart, no how." 

I saw that he knew best, and let him have his own way. 

" I have been to Gen. Johnston," he said, drawing some 
papers from his pocket, " and got two days leave of ab- 
sence ; here's his pass through our pickets. Now get your 
writing tricks and fill up this one as I say." 

He drew from among his papers a regular Federal pass, 
already printed, with only the date and name to fill up, and 
gave it to me, telling me to write it for Mrs. Sarah Jenkins 
and her son. It seemed to me a foolish waste of time, but 
I did as directed, and signed it as all adjutants do, with 
such a flourish and complicated A. A. G. that Champollion 
would have been puzzled to decipher it. 

" And now," said Ben, taking the two passes, "string up 
your nerves while I get breakfast, and then we'll dress for 
the frolic." 

I ate some of the hard tack and drank the cup of coffee 
which he kindly brought me, and told him I was ready. 



358 SEA-GIFT. 

" Hold on jit," he said, as he finished his cup, " the sun's 
jes' gittin' up. We must change our clothes — here, you put 
on these, as you ain't as tall as I am," an d he untied his 
bundle, and took out an old faded calico dress, a white cap 
and a large fly bonnet. 

" You see," he said, as he spread out the articles, " we are 
bound to rig up outlandish, for we can't help seeing some of 
the Yanks. Here's mine," and he produced an old home- 
spun suit and a wide-brim wool hat. I now saw the design 
of his disguises, and giving his hand a warm grasp for his 
sympathy and assistance, entered into his scheme and be- 
gan to make ready. 

" I can tell you," said Ben, talking while I was shaving 
off my beard, " I had a hard time gittin' these traps. I rode 
about ten mile last night, and had to steal the bonnet at 
that, though I stuck a five dollar Confed. on the fence where 
I grabbed it." 

After half an hour's preparation I stood as complete an 
old woman, with specs and muffled chin, as ever sold eggs 
or peddled cakes. Ben was his old self again, and looked as 
essentially rustic as when he carried us fishing when we 
were boys. 

" Now we are ready," said Ben, when we were fully dis- 
guised. " Less go; don't mind what our boys holler at you> 
it'll help fool the Yankees better." 

Just outside the tent door were two sorry looking horses, 
with rope bridles, and a side saddle on one of them ; beside 
tli em on the ground was a hamper basket, with a cloth tied 
over it, and another smaller basket full of eggs. 

In reply to my regret that our horses looked so poor, 
Ben said that our own were too good, that the Yankees 
would dismount us, and that these would be no temptation. 

I got up to my seat, and after some instructions from Ben 
as to how I must hold my basket and how to hide my feet, 
we started off. 



SEA-GIFT. 359 

We took a circuitous route around Goldsboro', and strik- 
ing the Neuse, kept down the bank of the river 'till we were 
near our homes. So well was Ben acquainted with every 
path through the woods that we did not come in sight of a 
Yankee during the day, 'till, just before sunset, we came into 
the road leading to our house, at its junction with the 
County road ; and here we found three or four soldiers 
apparently on picket duty. We rode carelessly up and, on 
being halted, presented our passes, which were examined 
by one of the men, with the bars of a corporal on his 
arm. 

" All right, you can pass," he said, returning the papers 
to Ben, while I sat with my face averted and my shoulders 
bent as if I was very decrepit. We had hardly started from 
the group when one of them called out — 

" Stop, old lady, let us see what you have in your basket." 
Knowing that the closeness of interview required by bar- 
gaining for eggs would lead to our detection, I could not 
repress a tremor of apprehension ; but Ben instantly relieved 
my embarrassment by kicking my horse into a trot, and 
saying in a loud tone : 

" Go 'long, mammy ; don't you know the man with stars 
on shoulder, what give us the pass, tole us not to talk to 
folks that was standin' guard?" 

None of the soldiers said anything more to us and we 
rode on without molestation. We had scarcely gone a mile 
when we came to the large gate of our grove. It was 
standing open and strange cattle were browsing under the 
oaks. We looked down the long avenue, and instead of the 
tall white house, with its broad porch and door, distant 
woods, and the red evening sky beyond, were all that 
caught the eye. We galloped hurriedly down the avenue, 
and dismounted at the yard palings, a few steps in front 
of the ruins. Where the house had been was now a heap 
of ashes, that rose in little clouds as the March winds blew 



3G0 SEA-GIFT. 

over them. The tall, silent chimneys stood with their 
mouth-like fireplaces whispering to each other of ruin and 
desolation, across the smouldering pile. The old cedar 
near the house, under whose branches I had wept, as a 
boy, over Lulie's cruelty, was withered and blackened, and 
even the palings on which we leaned were charred to coal. 
A broad rock chimney showed where the kitchen had been ; 
and the well house and dairy, which were still standing, 
were scorched and blackened with the heat. There was no 
sign of life on the premises ; all was silent and still, the 
stables were open and the horses gone, the negro houses all 
deserted, and not even a dog lurked around the lot. 

The very evening was full of dreariness ! The sun had 
gone out behind a hard, red sky, against which the wind 
blew in fitful gusts ; now with abortive blast, as if to re- 
kindle the flame of day ; now with a frightened moan, as 
if afraid of the approach of night. The tall trees along the 
river tossed and beat their long bare arms, as if they longed 
to break their chains of root and flee from these scenes of 
waste and woe. From the swaying top of one of them a 
solitary crow flew, with black flapping wings, cawing as he 
came, and perched upon the topmost bough of the old cedar, 
like a spirit of evil, his black feathers blown into a ruff 
around his neck, and his head bobbing with every note, in 
mockery of the desolation. 

His voice broke the sp^ll of our silence, and I turned to 
Ben. He was standing with one hand on the gate post, the 
nails whitened by pressure against the wood, and his grey 
eyes glowing as if there were lamps behind them. 

" Gracious God ! what a sight !" I said, as I leaned 
against the paling for support. 

"Ah — h — h," said Ben, the breath hissing through his 
clenched teeth, "and it's lit up a devil's bonfire in here it'll 
take blood to put out," and he tapped his breast, where the 
protrusion of a revolver could be faintly seen. 



SEA- GIFT. 361 

" But think, Ben, of Paning's doing all this. A double- 
dyed villain ! to burn the very house that has sheltered 
him, and insult a woman whose hospitality he has re- 
ceived ! He here at my home, directing a too willing ene- 
my where to pillage ; his foul lips forcing their polluted 
touch on Carlo tta's cheek ! Great Heaven ! the thought 
drives me mad ; may Infinite Justice help me to meet 
him once more !" 

As I ceased speaking a strange unearthly wail arose on 
the air, and a poor wounded cat, roused by our voices, 
sprang, or rather fell from a box in the dairy window to the 
ground, and strove to make its way to us with piteous 
mewing. It was perfectly blind, as we could tell from its 
actions, and its fur and flesh on one side were singed and 
burnt by the fire. It was gaunt from starvation, and cried 
aloud with a hollow voice in its vain efforts to find us. I 
went forward and took it up in my arms, and saw then that 
it was a pet of mother's, that had been perhaps forgotten 
in the haste of leaving, and. with fond local affection, was 
starving rather than quit the place. As I gazed upon the 
poor famished creature, with its white sightless eyes and 
emaciated frame, and thought of mother's fondness and 
care for it, for the first time losing control of myself, I burst 
into tears. 

Ben touched my shoulder and said : 

" Less go, John ; we can't do no good staying here, and 
are wasting a heap of precious time." 

Knowing that Mr. Bemby's larder now had no room for 
cats, I made the poor creature a bed in the dairy, and 
placing something to eat and some water by it, we left it. 
Throwing our bridles over our arms we walked on to Mr. 
Bemby's, which was but a short distance through the trees. 
As we approached the house I saw my beautiful boy play- 
ing near the steps. He looked up in perfect amazement »s 
I ran to him, and his lips quivered with frightened surpri.se 

16 



362 SEA-GIFT. 

as a seeming old woman caught him up and strained him 
to her heart. Bearing him in my arms I entered the house, 
and at the sound of my footsteps Carlotta came to the door, 
her beautiful face pale with anxiety and alarm; for every 
footfall on the doorway now meant robbery or insult. She 
started back in affright at my wild appearance and gro- 
tesque disguise, but the next instant, as I murmured "Car- 
lotta |" her arms were around me and she was sobbing on 
my shoulder. 

"Oh, thank God! we have met again. Oh, John, my 
husband, what we have suffered since I saw you last !" she 
exclaimed, with convulsive weeping. 

" I know it all, darling; Horace has told me. But compose 
yourself, dearest, and let us go to mother, if she be still alive.'' 

" She is still living, but I fear will not live long. She 
grows feebler every day. I will go in and prepare her for 
your coming." 

She left me and went into another room, while I placed 
my little boy, who had been staring at his mother and my- 
self with a look of amazement, again upon the floor, and tore 
off my bonnet and dress. 

"No matter what happens," I said, as Ben came in with his 
wife from the kitchen, where he had gone to look for her, 
" I won't wear this ridiculous costume, here at least." 

I had scarcely done greeting Ben's wife when his mother 
came in, not so plethoric as when I had last seen her, but 
with the same good natured face and kind heart. 

I could only grasp her honest hands with tears in my 
eyes, and bless her for her kindness to my dear ones. 

"You needn't go to talk 'bout kindness," said Mrs. Bemby, 
wiping her specs on the corner of her apron. "Your 
mother's done a sight more for me'n I ever kin do for her, 
an' I want to keep a doin' long as God will let her live, 
which I'm afeard it won't be mighty long, for she's poorlier 
to-day 'n I've seen her yet." 



8EA-GIFT. 363 

To divert her from such painful remarks I asked if the 
Yankees had molested them since they had burned the 
house. 

11 Not such a mighty sight. They've tuck my chickens 
and vegetables, tho' they wan't nothin' in the garden but 
turnips, but we've got some meat an' a little corn. The 
wuss trouble we has is a continuwell fear they is goin' to 
break in on us. Mr. Bemby he's gone to town to-day to git 
a guard." 

"A guard !" I exclaimed, in much alarm ; "then if we are 
discovered here you all are ruined. Ben and I can settle 
with half-a-dozen by ourselves, but I am truly alarmed for 
you." 

"Never do you mind, John," said Ben, as he trotted a 
little white-headed scion on his knee ; "she'll fix all that; 
the old man aint coming back till to-morrow no how, and 
we'll be off by light." 

Off by light 1 how the words sounded like a knell on my 
ears ; off, to leave a dying mother and an unprotected wife 
and child in the lines of a merciless foe ; off to fight, perhaps 
die for a now hopeless cause, leaving all I loved to misery 
and want. Ah, Mercy ! let thy white wing oftenest shield 
the poor deserter at the stake, and Justice will have less 
complaint ! 

Carlotta now appeared at the door of mother's chamber, 
and beckoned to me. Walking softly, with a bowed head 
and prayerful heart, I entered a small dark room, dimly 
lighted by a single candle and a flickering fire on the hearth. 
On an humble bed in the corner, with her crushed head 
bound with cloths and liniments, lay my mother, pale and 
thin, her sweet face illumined with bright surprise yet 
strange bewilderment. 

"Be careful," whispered Carlotta, as I paused on the 
threshold, "her mind is not perfectly clear." 

In another moment I was on my knees at the bedside, 



364 SEA-GIFT. 

my face pressed upon her pillow, sobbing, " Mother ! oh 
my mother I" She did not speak, but laid her thin tremu- 
lous hand on my head and let it rest there. I was con- 
vulsed with grief to think of losing her after I had been 
away from her so long, and that she was dying under such 
distressing circumstances, without a home, under a strange 
roof, and with a consciousness of helpless dependence. 

As in moments of great danger a retrospect of our whole 
lives rises before us, so in this deep distress all my acts of 
disobedience and unkindness toward mother ; every time 
that I had wounded her feelings ; every harsh word I had 
uttered, all came with cruel distinctness into memory to 
torture me, and I longed, in my agony, to ask her forgive- 
ness for every one, and to assure her again and again of my 
love. But Carlotta's warning, and the strange look on her 
face, made me afraid to speak, and I knelt with my face on 
the pillow, silently weeping, till she herself broke the silence 
of the chamber. 

" Carlotta," she said, in a voice so changed that I raised 
up to look at her, " this is John, is it not ? When did he 
come ? Does he know that his father is dead ?" 

Carlotta made a sign to me not to speak, and drawing a 
chair up to the bedside, she took mother's hand in her's and 
said : 

"Yes, mother, this is John. He knows all about father's 
death, and about the burning of the house ; and he has 
come through the Federal lines, at great risk, to see you. 
Can you not arouse yourself to talk to him ! He wishes to 
know if you feel better to-night ?" 

Mother now gazed at me with the old look of fondness as 
she said : 

"Is this my dear boy? and have you come to see your 
mother ? God bless you for it ! I will make the effort to 
speak with you ; but oh ! I cannot remain conscious. Now 
all that has transpired is perfectly eiear and distinct before 



SEA-GIFT. 365 

me, and I recognize my dear child's face, and know why he 
has come ; but presently a dull gray cloud, or something 
from afar off, will float up and envelope my mind, and all I 
know or remember becomes confused. Carlotta, darling, 
help me keep the cloud away." 

" I will, mother," said Carlotta, dampening a cloth and 
laying it on her forehead ; but even as the cool moisture 
touched her skin the vacant look came again to her face, 
and she asked, looking at me with earnest inquiry : "John, 
have you brought your father home; is the grave ready? 
Go have it made wider. I am coming to lie by his side." 

Utterly helpless, we both sat watching and listening to 
her incoherent mutterings about father's lonely grave, and 
her desire to go to it, till, dozing off into her stupor again, 
she was silent. In a few minutes she opened her eyes, and 
was for another interval herself again. 

"John, my precious child," she said, trying to put her 
arm around my neck and draw me down to her, " God 
alone knows how I desire to talk with you, for this will be 
the last converse we will ever hold on earth. I do not wish 
to grieve you unnecessarily, but I feel that I am dying." 

"0 mother, do not say so," I sobbed, as I kissed her 
pale, emaciated cheek ; " God is too good to take you away 
from us." 

" He knows best, my son. His will be done ! But I have 
not strength to say much, and even now I feel the cloud 
coming. Will you make me two promises ? I want you to 
bring your father's remains from Elmira, and bury them 
with me under the old cedar at home ; 'twas there I pro- 
mised to be his bride in the long ago. And, John, some- 
thing tells me that you had another motive, besides seeing 
me, in coming hither. Do you not seek Frank Paning's 
life ?" 

My face flushed hotly as the thought that she might ask 
me to forgive Frank flashed upon me, and I felt that even 



366 SEA-GIFT. 

her last request could not persuade me to forego my ven- 
geance. But I answered quickly : 

" No, mother, as Heaven is my witness, I only thought of 
you and Carlotta when I came here ; but if Providence 
should throw the viper in my path, even you would have 
me crush him." 

" No, John, the dear Saviour prayed for those who nailed 
him to the cross, and bids us foi-give as wc would be for- 
given." 

" But, mother," I argued — though Carlotta shook her head 
at me and whispered, " do as she requests " — " Frank is so 
vile. He has partaken of our hospitality, and I have been 
his friend a thousand times, yet he has burnt our home, in- 
sulted Carlotta and murdered you ; how can I ever forgive 
him ?" 

" You are full of wrath and hatred now, my son, and I 
cannot hope to change your feeling yet awhile ; but I can 
ask, as my last request, your promise that you will not seek 
Frank's life — that if you ever meet you will forgive him for 
my sake. Do you promise ?" 

I did not speak, for the hot blood that had written my 
oath of vengeance on my heart was still throbbing there, 
and I could not at a word forget my cruel wrongs. While 
I hesitated the cloud came over her, and her countenance 
again was vacant and meaningless, and she began to mur- 
mur broken sentences about the Cross, and Christ's love, 
and her child's hard heart. 

Then there came the heartrending thought that she 
might not again become conscious, and might die with my 
obstinate refusal weighing on her poor broken heart. 

"Oh, merciful God ! what is my unholy resentment com- 
pared with the peace of my mother's death bed?" I ex- 
claimed, with unfeigned penitence, as I implored Carlotta 
to rouse her once more to consciousness. 

Falling on my knees I jegan the struggle, and conquered 



SEA-GIFT. 307 

self, and then I felt that I could forgive Frank, not alone for 
the sake of my promise, but for the sake of Christ and His 
Cross. With a faith I had never known before I prayed for 
mother's restoration, pleading the promise, " If ye shall 
ask anything in my name I will do it," and arose from my 
knees with that "peace that passeth all understanding" 
resting on my soul. 

After a long while, as it seemed- to my suspense, she ral- 
lied again, and addressed some words to me that showed 
she was rational. I hastened then to give her my promise, 
and assured her that I really, from my heart, forgave Frank, 
and would not harm him if I could. 

She thanked me in her feeble way, and then asked me to 
sit near her and talk with Carlotta, that she might hear the 
sound of my voice, though she felt too weak to talk herself. 
Then, after Carlotta had put little Johnnie to bed in his 
corner, she came and sat by me, and with tearful eyes and 
aching hearts we talked of our parting on the morrow, when 
we would bid each other farewell, with a probability of never 
meeting again ; when we would be separated without a possi- 
bility of communication ; when each must suffer well ground- 
ed anxiety and prolonged suspense, because the other was 
exposed to constant and serious clanger ; when I must leave 
without having done a single thing to alleviate their condi- 
tion, or render them less dependent on the Bembys. But 
'twas all for the Stars and Bars, and for them I would bear 
it thrice again. 

In the ever flowing tide of our sympathy and love we 
took no note of time, and when we were startled by a tap at 
the door I was surprised to find that the window behind me 
was a gray square of light, and that objects were becoming 
plainly visible out in the yard. It was Ben who had knock- 
ed, and who said in a whisper, as I opened the door : 

"Day's broke, John ; you'd better put on your fixins'^ 
and let's git out. The old man and his guard might git 



368 SEA-GIFT. 

here before we leave, and that would spile our tramp and 
ruinate the folks here." 

With a sudden sinking at my heart, like we feel when we 
hear the footstep of the doctor who is to lance a bone felon 
for us, I turned into the chamber and began to make ready 
for my departure. My poor Carlotta, who had borne all so 
bravely, gave way at last, and clung to me weeping. 

'• Oh, John ! I do try to bear up, but it seems that my 
heart will break now if you leave me. I know you could 
not protect me amid so many foes, but I would feel so 
much braver, so much more secure, if you could be with 
me — if I could get your advice and counsel, and have you 
help me nurse dear mother. John, what shall I do if she dies ?" 

" Would you have me stay, Carlotta ?" I said, to prove 
her. " I am in the Yankee lines now, and cannot be pun- 
ished for desertion." 

" Desertion !" she exclaimed, with a blaze in her splendid 
eyes. " Fondly as I love you, John, I would rather have 
you fall dead at my feet than leave our cause now because 
it is feeble. No, no, darling, go back to your command, and 
if we are conquered I will be proud of my husband because 
he wore the gray while I suffered at home." 

Blessing her for her encouragement to duty, I strained her 
again and again to my heart, asking God's protection for 
her, and bidding her good bye. 

Mother was sleeping soundly for the first time in several 
days, and I would not wake her, but touched her forehead 
tenderly with my lips, and then bent over my darling child. 

I carried my disguise on my arm, for it seemed such a 
mockery of all the sad circumstances at Mr. Bemby's that 
I would not put it on till we had gone some distance from 
the house. When we had again become the old woman 
and her son we mounted our horses, and with sad hearts 
set out on our return to Johnston's camp. We had been 
delayed by Mrs. B.'s breakfast and our prolonged farewells, 



SEA-GIFT. 369 

so that we found now that the sun had been up some time, 
and Nature was sparkling in dewy beauty. My feelings 
were too much depressed for conversation, and Ben, with 
Nature-taught delicacy, refrained from either futile attempts 
to console or irrelevant efforts to divert, and our ride began 
in silence. As we neared our home, and I saw the chim- 
neys and the ashes, the old hot feeling came to my heart, 
and I remembered my promise to mother with something 
like regret. The next moment I was startled by hearing 
the exclamation " Humph !" very much accented, from Ben, 
and seeing him dash at headlong speed down the pathway 
to the house, or rather where it had stood. I followed as 
fast as I could, and saw, as I neared the gate, the cause of 
his movements. A figure in blue uniform, mounted on a 
powerful horse, stood at the palings, and another, dismount- 
ed, was raking over the ashes and cinders with his sabre 
scabbard. At the sound of our gallop the man on horse- 
back turned and saw us, and, driving the spurs into his 
charger, he fled up the avenue with a speed that defied 
capture. Ben was some distance ahead of me, and as I saw 
him leap from his horse and dash into the yard, 1 wondered 
that he should thus forget his usual prudence and throw 
aside his assumed character when we most needed it. In 
another moment I was at the gate, and saw him grasp the 
man in blue, who, with trembling hands, was untying his 
horse, and drag him by the throat towards me. The prison- 
er, oh! promise of forgiveness ! was Frank Paning. 

His arm was in a sling, from Carlotta's shot, I thought ; 
his cap had fallen off, and his dark curls were clustering as 
prettily as ever around his white forehead, while his restlees 
eyes turned any where but towards Ben or myself. Ben 
looked up at me with the lamps in his gray eyes burning 
red lights, and his lips so pressed over his set teeth that the 
old scar stood out like a cord ; and drawing a long navy 
revolver from his breast, he offered it to me saying : 

16* 



370 SEA-GIFT. 

"Here, John, this is jour mouthful ; I won't take it from 
you." 

" No, Ben," I exclaimed, turning my head away ; " don't, 
don't tempt me. I promised my mother, pledged my word, 
at her dying request, not to take his life. I cannot break 
my last promise to her." 

"John, I feel sorry for you," said Ben, solemnly, as if the 
obligation to spare Frank was a great affliction, and de- 
manded his sympathy, "but 7 did not promise, therefore " 

and his thumb slowly drew the hammer of his pistol back, 
till it stood like a serpent ready to strike. 

" Gentlemen," said Frank, in a husky, nervous voice, 
while he raised his hand hesitatingly towards Ben's, as if he 
wished to move it from his collar, but was afraid his touch 
would be the signal for the serpent to fall on the yellow, 
gleaming cap, "you surely will not do me any violence. I 
am your prisoner, and will give up my arms if you will 
receive them, and will do anything you say or wish. If 
you will not spare me for humanity's sake, only think of the 
danger you are in. Our troops are all around you, and 
there is even now a strong body of calvary just beyond the 
bend in the road. You are both in disguise, and, if caught, 
will be hung as spies. If you harm me you cannot possibly 
escape, but if you promise to spare my life, I will pilot you 
safely through our lines, and then go with you to Gen. 
Johnston. I can give him very important information about 
Sherman's movements, and will do so cheerfully." 

"You wiir?" said Ben, with two short grunts for a laugh, 
at the same time taking his thumb from the crest of the 
hammer. 

" Mr. Bemby, for God's sake don't shoot me !" cried Frank, 
in an extremity of terror, clasping his hands over Ben's, 
that like a vice still held his collar. " John, don't, don't let 
■him shoot me ! Speak to him, please, and ask him to spare 
me! He wont shoot if. you tell him not. Remember, we 



SEA-GIFT. 3*11 

were friends once, and save my life now for the sake of that 
time." 

He tried to throw himself on his knees, but Ben held him 
erect, and he stood trembling in every limb, and holding 
out his hands to me in a cowardly fright, that excited no 
feeling but disgust. When he appealed to the past, I re- 
membered that Oarlotta had made the same appeal to him 
only to receive an insult, and I had almost stricken him 
down with my own hand, when mother's voice again whis- 
pered in my ear, "Forgive, as ye would be forgiven." 

My arm was scarcely lowered when the sound of horses' 
feet was heard, and, looking up, we saw a half .dozen Fed- 
eral cavalry coming down the avenue at a fast trot. 

Frank's face lighted up with an expression of fiendish 
malice and triumph as he saw them, and, pointing to them, 
he said, with a sudden change from an abject to an author- 
itative air : 

" Take your hands off, sir ! Surrender, or I will have 
you both shot. You dare not harm me now," he added, 
with a sneer. 

"We don't?" said Ben, with a hiss in his voice and a 
redder light in his eyes. Then, giving Frank's throat a 
grip that made his face livid, he pointed with his revolver 
to the ashes, and said through is teeth: "Look there, vil- 
lain ! is that your work?" 

" Yes, by Heaven ! it is ;" exclaimed Frank, with a ges- 
ture of defiance, for the troopers were almost on us. 

"Then, infernal dog, take your pay !" 

Before I could speak there was a levelled brown barrel, a 
deadly report, and a red oozing spot in Frank's white fore- 
head. He stood motionless a second, and then fell limp 
and doubling up to the ground. 

" Now less scatter 'em yonder, and break for old Joe's 
camp ;" said Ben, as he sprang upon his horse. 

The Yankees halted with astonishment as they saw an 



812 SKA-GIFT. 

awkward country lad and an old woman charging upon 
them. 

But we were on them before they had time for much 
wonder. Bang ! bang 1 one reeled, another fell. Bang 1 
bang ! another empty saddle ! and we were past them a 
hundred yards before they returned our fire. They did not 
dare pursue us, and we galloped a short distance up the 
road, then plunged into the woods, and, riding on to the 
river, we took up its banks, picking our way cautiously 
through bogs and marshes, and avoiding every sign of habi- 
tation and life. So careful were we in our progress that 
we saw no human being during the day, and at nightfall 
found ourselves not far from the place where Johnston had 
his camp when we left. But all day long we had heard the 
roar of battle, growing louder as we drew nearer, and we 
knew that there had been a heavy engagement somewhere, 
and that the positions of both armies had undergone some 
change. As we determined to ride now in the night, we 
stopped some time before sunset in a deep secluded dell, to 
rest our horses till after dark. Ben slipped into an adjoin- 
ing field and obtained some fodder from a couple of stacks 
that were standing near the woods, and gave a plentiful 
supply to our hungry cattle. 

"The Yankees will get it all soon, any way," said Ben, 
apologetically, as he untied the bundles and shook them out 
on the ground. 

At sunset we could hear the bugle calls of different 
camps, and mapped out our course for the night accord- 
ingly. As soon as it was dark we mounted our horses, 
which were much refreshed by food and their short rest, 
and set out to thread the maze of pickets extending miles 
around. As my disguise was useless in the dark I tore it 
off, preferring to ride bare-headed to having both sight and 
hearing impaired by the long, projecting bonnet. 

Having located the camps by the sounds of the bugles, we 



SEA-GIFT. 313 

made a wide circuit, which considerably increased the dis- 
tance we had to travel. After riding for hours in cautious 
silence, and being, as we thought, very near our lines, our 
horses began to show signs of giving out. After an hour's 
more urging them forward they began to breathe hard and 
stagger, so that it would have been cruel as well as impos- 
sible to ride them further. 

"What shall we do?" I asked, barely dismounting in 
time to keep mine from falling beneath me. Ben's horse 
was much better than mine, and would have held out a mile 
or two further, but he got down immediately, and taking 
the bridle from his horse, said : 

"We'll have to foot it, I reckon, and leave these Arabs 
here ; somebody '11 find them, and a fine team they'll have, 
won't they? I was afeard they wouldn't hold out when 
we started, but we couldn't er got 'long on good stock. 
Take your bridle off, so the varmint can browse, and less 
move on. 'Taint far no how, and I want to stretch my legs 
a little." 

Taking the bridles and saddles off we let the poor jaded 
creatures go free, and set out on foot through the darkness. 
We had not gone more than half a mile when Ben caught 
my arm and said, in a whisper : " Shh ! Listen !" 

Not a hundred paces ahead of us we heard the unmistak- 
able tell-tale of the house, and the frequent betrayal of the 
picket — that peculiar flutter of the animal's lip as the breath 
is forced through the nose — that is very frequent, and audi- 
ble at a considerable distance in the night. Simultaneously 
whispering the single word, " Pickets I" we crept forward 
with Indian stealthiness, feeling for twigs before we stepped, 
and parting the bushes carefully before we passed through 
them. 

" What do you intend to do when we find them ?" I 
asked, in a low voice, of Ben, who generally assumed the 
responsibility of directing. 



314 SEA-GIFT. 

" See how many of 'em there is, and act according. If 
there ain't more than two we c'n rope 'em and git their 
horses, but we must do it w'thout our pistols." 

" All right," I whispered ; " I'm ready." 

We went forward a few steps, and there, not twenty 
paces from us, at the edge of a wide open field, loomed the 
figures of two pickets, seated on their horses. . We ci'ept a 
few steps nearer till we could hear their conversation, and 
paused to listen. They were grumbling about the hardship 
of standing picket 'way off where nobody ever came, and 
half a mile from any of the others, and they swore, half 
laughing, that they had been freezing there a month, and 
would never be relieved. One rallied the other on being 
afraid of the dead men in the field before them, and then, 
with an oath, said he was ready for dead or living, and that 
he had balls enough for both. 

Ben placed his mouth to my ear and breathed the words, 
not spoke them : 

"It is all right, they're alone, and will be sho to surren- 
der when we tell 'em. But be ready with your pistol if 
the worse comes to the worse ; we may have to shoot a 
little to git the horses." 

I shuddered at the thought ; for while I had been in many 
battles, where the balls fell like hail, and never yet shrunk 
from duty, yet there was something so secret, and, I must 
confess, frightful in this contemplated hand-to-hand encoun- 
ter, with an adversary each, out in the lonely night, with no 
eye to mark our victory or death, that I fain would have 
avoided it. I ventured to whisper to Ben : 

" As there is no special necessity for attacking them, had 
we not better go around them and hasten to our lines? 
An attempt to take them will probably lead to an alarm 
and our own capture. You know I am with you wherever 
there is need, but I had rather be prudent now, for Car- 
lotta's sake." 



SEA-GIFT. 375 

" 'Twon't do for soldiers to tnink of the home folks, John, 
if they're going to fight right ; it makes 'em too soft in the 
heart. But them fellows Ve got two good horses, and we 
can take 'em in so nice. My rule is to never let a Yankee 
off; and, if you'd ruther not, I'll try the game by myself."' 

" You must beg my pardon for that insult, Ben, or you 
and I will fight," I said, in the same low tone, but with a 
flush on my face at his insinuation. 

" You know I didn't mean to insult you, John ; but less 
quit wasting time and git to work ; what we've got to do 
is to creep up close and spring on 'em. When I take hold 
of one bridle you grab the other, and I'll do the talkin'." 

Bending down almost to the ground, with panther-like 
tread we stole upon the unconscious pickets, while my hand 
was trembling and my heart beating audibly with excite- 
ment. Ben was perfectly cool and deliberate, for he was but 
reenacting, rather tamely he seemed to think, one of his 
many scouting adventures. We were now at their horses' 
heels, and Ben, putting his mouth again to my ear, whis- 
pered, " Be certain to go when I do, and keep your revolver 
in your right hand. Are you ready ? Now !" and we both 
sprang to the heads of the horses and seized the reins. 
" Surrender 1 or you are dead men. Steady, boys ! do not 
fire till I give the word," exclaimed Ben, in a loud clear 
voice, as we levelled our pistols on them. 

They made no show of resistance, but cried out to us not 
to shoot — that they yielded themselves up ; and when Ben 
approached to take their arms gave them up readily. 

We made them dismount, and found that they had two 
strong, well built horses, of which we took immediate pos- 
session. In answer to our inquiries they told us that there 
had been a severe engagement near Bentonsville, and that 
Johnston was moving up toward Raleigh. They pointed 
toward his lines, which they said were not more than half a 
mile distant. Ben examined the horses' heads, and finding a 



316 SEA-GIFT. 

halter under each bridle, he took them off, and telling our 
prisoners that while he was obliged for their information, 
jet for their safety and our own he would have to tie them, 
he made them turn their backs to two small trees and 
lashed their hands around them. "The relief '11 be along 
pretty soon," he said, " so you won't git tired ; and if you 
want to scratch your back, or wipe your nose, you '11 have 
to rub up and down, or twist your head. Good bye, and 
don't forget to thank the Lord that we didn't kill you, as 
we ought to do." 

Mounting our captured horses we again set out in the 
darkness, picking our way still cautiously, and halting ever 
and anon to listen and take our bearings, for we did not 
place that implicit confidence in the statements of our pris- 
oners, regarding the position of our lines, that a charitable 
belief in the integrity of human nature would have encour- 
aged us to do. But we had judged them wrongfully, for 
we had just passed through the open field at the edge of 
which we had left them, and struck another skirt of woods, 
when, directly in front of us, crack ! went a rifle, and the ball 
whistled in uncomfortable proximity to our ears. The next 
moment we heard the gallop of the horse's feet as the picket 
fell back to the reserve. 

" Quick !" said Ben, spurring his horse forward ; " we 
must catch up with him and tell him we are friends, or 
we will be shot." 

But catching up was not so easy, for he heard our pur- 
suit, and dashed through the brush and undergrowth as 
if he had a contract to clear up the land. 

As our speed was a matter of equal necessity we kept 
close behind him, when suddenly his horse fell, and he 
rolled over in the darkness. 

" I surrender," he called out, as we rode up. 

" What command do you belong to?" I asked. 

'■ Wheeler's cavalry, — th Regiment." 



SEA-GIFT. 377 

" Where's your camp ?" said. Ben. 

" Just behind us ; yonder are some of the fires." 

" Well, go back to your post; we are friends," I said, as 
Ben caught his horse for him. " I am Major Smith, of Gen. 
Johnston's staff.'' 

" Yes, sir," said the poor fellow, who was badly frightened, 
attempting to make a salute as he rose from the ground, 
where he had been lying during the colloquy. 

We left him and pushed rapidly on to the fires which we 
saw glimmering through the trees. 

Without detailing the halts of the sentinels and our ex- 
planations, suffice it to say we reached our quarters in 
safety, got an hour's sleep, and rose with the army to con- 
tinue our ceaseless but gallant retreat. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

If my pen alone, dear reader, could direct the scenes which 
must be presented to your view in drawing near the close 
of my narrative, rest assured they should be pleasant. I 
would tell of a grand triumphant army, marshalled for the 
last time beneath the Stars and Bars to hear the plaudits 
and farewell of their chieftain ; of victorious legions march- 
ing home crowned with laurels, their very footsteps softened 
by the flowers fair hands are scattering before them ; of every 
homestead, blessed with peace and plenty, greeting its hero 
returned from the war. I would tell of an Independent Re- 
public, with Robert E. Lee at its head, growing into power 
and greatness among the nations of the earth ; while, with 
all sectional animosity and bitterness buried beneath the 
blood of their children, the United and the Confederate 
States join hands in the noble alliance of progress and enter- 



318 SEA-GIFT. 

prise — exchanging products and commodities, aiding each 
other onward, yet vieing in generous rivalry. Alas ! the 
stern reality presents a darker picture — the picture of a 
people, borne down by want and woe, yielding up at last 
their long and gallant struggle, and sitting down amid the 
ashes of their country to mourn their children dead for 
nought ; a picture of two armies — small, indeed, and wasted 
by famine and disease, yet still stepping proudly as they 
remember their long record of victories — stacking their faith- 
ful arms and furling their shell-torn flags with tears of help- 
less bitterness ; a picture of Southern roadsides filled every- 
where with men in tattered gray, plodding, with blistered 
feet, their weary way towards homes where gaunt starva- 
tion hath so wasted the cheeks of loved ones that they will 
scarcely flush at their coming, and where, laying down the 
burden of war, they must take up the burden of fruitless 
labor ! 

Ben and I secured transportation on the cars from Dur- 
ham's to Raleigh, and set out from there to walk home. 

Ah ! never to be forgotten are those days after the sur- 
render ! How the Yankees jeered and cursed us for being 
rebels, as squad after squad galloped by us, tramping along 
our dusty roads ! And the people, God bless them ! how 
kind they were to us, even in their poverty ! Stripped to 
almost utter destitution by the enemy, they were willing, 
like the widow of Sarepta, to share with us their only cake. 
As we passed each gate they would come out with a pitcher 
of water, a tray of corn bread and potatoes, and, if the 
" bummers " had not paid their visits of mercy, a small 
piece of meat. Calling us into the yard, under the trees, 
they would press us to eat, and lament that they had not 
better to give. And as we eagerly ate their frugal fare, 
which was more delicious then than were the quails of 
Lucuilus, and rose to thank them and pursue our way, they 
would put what remained in our pockets, and, asking God's 



SEA-GIFT. 379 

blessing on us, turn into the house to prepare their humble 
offering for the next hungry troop. 

Thus were the gloomy feelings of our homeward journey 
relieved by constant kindness and attention from every house 
we passed, and it was not till we neared Ben's home, and 
had left the public road, that I had time to feel the terrible 
suspense and anxiety about Carlotta and mother that had 
been in my heart since I left them. I dared not hope that 
mother was alive; yet my heart did so milch shrink from 
knowing she was dead, that, as I came in sight of Mr. 
Bemby's, my feet almost refused to go forward. 

As we approached we saw no one but Horace, who was 
working in a little garden near the house, and we motioned 
to him to be quiet. We opened the door of the house softly, 
and heard the sound of voices out in the little back porch, 
and saw the edge of some one's dress who was sitting near 
the door. Then we heard a chair put down from its tilted 
position, and Ben's wife leaned forward and looked sideways 
into the passage. With a loud cry of joy she dropped a lap 
full of work on the floor, and ran to meet her husband. She 
was followed by Carlotta and Mrs. Bemby. Where was 
mother ? Carlotta, as I pressed her to my bosom, inter- 
preted the anxiety of my look, and said : 

" God has spared mother, John. She is much improved, 
though still feeble. She is out in the porch. Come with me." 

I followed her out to the porch, and there, propped by 
pillows in a chair, pale and thin, but still alive, was mother. 

I knelt by her, and we both murmured our thanksgiving 
to God for his mercy. 

Then, when Mrs. Bemby had brought out chairs for us 
all, and Horace had brought a bucket of fresh cool water, 
how bright and happy were we all as we told of our adven- 
tures and wondered at our mutual dangers and escapes. 
Verily, it was worth four years of hardship to experience the 
joy of that morning oat in Mr. Bemby's porch. 



380 SEA-GIFT. 

" But tell me, Carlotta, what caused this blessed change 
in mother ?" I said, after we had finished our salutations, 
drawing my little boy to me, and taking him on my knee. 

" She was relieved, and commenced to grow better the 
very day you left. A short time after you and Mr. Ben 
were gone a company of Federal soldiers came up to the 
house, bearing with them a dead man and two wounded 
ones. Mrs. Bemby and I went out to them and found, I 
shudder to tell it, that the dead man was Frank Paning. 
They wanted some spades to bury him with, and some 
cloths to bind up the wounds of the others. They said that 
two spies, one of them disguised as an old woman, had 
killed Paning, and, meeting these, had fired on them. We 
knew it must have been you two. Oh, John ! did you forget 
your promise to mother ?" 

I said nothing, for I did not wish to involve Ben, but he 
spoke up directly : 

" No, Mrs. Smith, John didn't kill him ; I done it myself. 
We found him a rakin' over the ashes he'd helped to make, 
and when he saw his friends a comin' he tried to make us 
surrender, and I let him have a ball in his forred. 'Taint 
worth while to be mealy-mouthed about it." 

" Well," continued Carlotta, with a shudder at Ben's 
words, "Horace got the spades for them, and Mrs. Bemby 
told them to bring the men into the house, for they were 
both suffering very much. We did what we could to alle- 
viate their sufferings, and when the surgeon who was with 
them had bandaged up their wounds, and sent them off to 
camp, he asked if he could reward us in any way for our 
kindness. I thought of mother ; and though my pride re- 
volted at the idea of asking a favor of an enemy, I begged 
that he would see her and give her some relief, if possi- 
ble He went in and examined her head, and saying that 
it wars an easy matter, took out some instruments and 
went to work. He raised up the fractured skull, and, as 



SEA-GfFT. 381 

mother expressed it, lifted a great weight from her brain ; 
then mixing some medicine for her, and telling me how to 
bathe her head, took his leave." 

"Did you not offer to remunerate him in some way?" I 
asked. 

" Yes, I offered him my watch, as we had no money, but 
he refused it with polished courtesy, and said he would only 
take a kiss from my little boy, as there was something about 
his eyes, as well as mine, that reminded him of a lady he 
had loved years ago." 

" Did you rot learn his name ?" 

" Oh yes ! He gave me his card, and I think I put it in 
this basket ;" and she commenced to search in her work 
busily. " Ah ! here it is !" and she gave me the card : 

" C. B. Sedley, M. D., New York ! 

" Why, Carlotta," I said, " did not a young man of that 
name pay his addresses to you at Saratoga?" 

" Oh ! certainly; I remember him. How stupid of me to 
forget. Poor Charley ! I do not blame him for not recog- 
nising the lady of satin in this old homespun." 

" I must go to Goldsboro' to-morrow," I said, thinking 
gratefully of his kindness, " and if he is still there offer some 
testimonial of our gratitude." 

" It's useless," said Carlotta, " he has gone on to Raleigh 
with the army, and I cannot let you leave me so soon." 

Mr. Bemby now came in from the field, and greeted us 
warmly in his uncouth way, while Mrs. B. excused herself 
to see about dinner. It was a plain meal, of one course, 
but Delmonico has never served one that was more enjoyed, 
or surrounded by happier hearts. 

The next day I went over to Goldsboro', and, obtaining 
a hundred dollars, in "greenbacks," the first I had ever 
handled, prepared to start with our : ittle family for Wil- 
mington the following morning, for I could not consent to 



382 SEA-GIFT. 

impose longer on the good nature of the Bembys, and 
crowd them out of comfort in their little house. 

The next morning, having bade them an affectionate 
and grateful farewell, we lifted mother carefully into the 
vehicle T had hired to take us to town, and were soon in 
the cars, mother, Carlotta, Johnnie and I, rattling down to 
Wilmington. We found that Miss Wiggs had been unmo- 
lested in her possession of our house, and that it was there- 
fore ready for our reception. 

Many of our former slaves now applied for positions in our 
household, but, as they had deserted us when most needed, 
I refused every one, and engaged an entire new set. About 
this time, also, I received a balance sheet from father's bankers 
in New York, showing a large accumulated balance in our 
favor, and, drawing on this, we began to surround ourselves 
with ante-bellum comforts, and to make home feel like home. 

Soon after we had gotten somewhat settled I began to make 
inquiries about Lulie, for I felt the deepest interest in her 
welfare, and had ever thought of her downfall with deep- 
est sorrow. As I could hear nothing definite in regard 
to her, though it was generally believed she had gone o'ff 
with a Federal officer of high rank, I determined to call on her 
old maiden aunt, with whom she had lived since her father's 
death, which occurred early in the winter. To my surprise 
the old lady would neither see me nor answer any of my 
inquiries, but called out to me, in a shrill cracked voice, as I 
stood at her door, her long bony feet just visible in heelless 
slippers and blue stockings, at the top of her stairway: 

" You needn't come here asking me about the little silly 
fool, for I wouldn't tell you anything if I knew, which I 
don't. She's gone from my sight and hearing, and I hope to 
the Lord you nor any one else will ever hear of her again." 

Of course I could do nothing but give up the search, 
though I ceased not to hope she might yet be found and 
saved. 



SEA-GIFT. 383 

And now, as the summer wore away, came to me the ques- 
tion of life ; not how we were to live, -for our income largely 
exceeded our expenditure, but why. The boyish dreams I 
had so long cherished, of distinction in the political arena, 
were now vanished forever ; and the practice of law, for 
which I had studied, under the Provisional Government 
was little better than a system of pettifogging, that was 
as undignified as it was profitless. 

. There was absolutely nothing to do, and the very ennui of 
existence seemed a terrible evil. So, when Carlotta pro- 
posed that we break up here and go to her home in Cuba, I 
acceded to the proposal with great delight, and, mother 
consenting to go with us, I began immediately preparations 
for our departure in the Fall. I could not help feeling some 
touches of shame and regret in leaving our dear old State in 
this her darkest hour, and had it not been for the beautiful 
Cuban home that was awaiting us, I could not have gotten 
the consent of my mind to go. But I felt, as a private 
individual, of little benefit to the State at large, and that 
my first duty was to render those dearest to me happy, 
and this I thought would be accomplished by the change. 

As executor of father's will, I found very little trouble in 
settling the estate, there being no debts to pay and few to 
collect. The real estate in New York I determined to leave 
in the hands of our agent, in whom we had the utmost con- 
fidence, and who had doubly endeared himself to us by his 
kindness to father while he was in prison. I sold our resi- 
dence and grounds in Wilmington to a blockade runner who 
had amassed a large fortune during the war, and was anx- 
ious to invest in town property. Early in the fall I went 
up to the plantation to see Mr. Bemby, and make arrange- 
ments for its disposal. Taking the surveyor over from 
Goldsboro' I had four hundred acres cut oif for Ben, and 
two hundred for Horace, making them a fee simple title to 
it : the remaining three thousand acres I turned over to Mr. 



384 SEA-GIFT. 

Bemby, to use the balance of his lifetime without rent. 
These kind people were profuse and sincere in their regrets 
at our leaving, and Mr. Bemby protested that he and Ben 
could make enough on the farm for us all to live in the 
house and never go out doors where we could see a Yankee. 
They all followed me up to the road, and I felt, as I shook 
hands and drove off, that, go where I would, I could never 
find more faithful hearts Than beat beneath their homespun 
clothes. Ben rode over to Goldsboro' with me, and when 
we had gone some distance from the house he drew from 
his pocket a twenty dollar gold piece and handed, it to me, 
saying : 

" I want you to give that to the one it belongs to, if you 
ever see her." 

" Whose is it ?" I asked in some surprise. 

" Miss Luler Maylin's," he said, putting the coin in my 
hand. 

" Lulie Mayland 1" I exclaimed. " Where is she ; where 
have you seen her ; I have been trying to find her ever 
since I came home." 

" I saw her week b'fore last, right on this road, jus' above 
our house." 

"How came she there? Tell me about it for Heaven's 
sake, Ben." 

" Well, you know Frank Paning is buried up there in 
the woods by the road, and last Wednesday was a week I 
thought I'd go up and sorter put a pen like 'round his 
grave, to keep the hogs from rootin' 'bout on it, 'cause I tell 
you the truth, John, I ain't never felt right 'bout killin' him 
yit. I shot a sight of Yankees during the war, but I done 
it on account of the Confeder'cy, and I didn't feel like it was 
charged 'ginst me in the big book up yonder ; but I put 
that bullet in Frank Paning on my own hook, because I 
was mad with him, and it's looked mighty close kin to mur- 
der ever since." 



SEA-GIFT. 385 

" By no means, Ben," I interrupted ; "he had ordered you 
to surrender, and his friends were close at hand." 

" Well, any how," he continued, " I was piling up the 
rails 'round the grave, and kinder askin' its pardon to my- 
self, when I heard a carriage 'comin' 'long the road. I got 
up and stepped back a little for 'em to pass, for I was sorter 
ashamed of what I was doin'. But the carriage stopped 
right at the grave, and a Yankee officer got out, and then 
handed down a lady dressed finer 'n the top spot in a pea- 
cock's tail. The minnit I see her face I knowed 'twas the 
same young lady that come up here wonst with Mrs. Smith 
and you all. 'Soon as she got on the ground she run to the 
grave, and fell down on her knees, and put her head on the 
edge of the rail pen, and cried a long time. When she got up 
the man fetched some white flowers outer the carriage and 
she put 'em on the grave ; then turned to the man and said : 

" 'Do you think you can find the place, Curnel V 

" ' Without doubt, madam,' he said. 

" • I want the granite base very broad and strong, as the 
column will be very heavy,' I heard her say. 

" ' It shall be as you desire, madam,' he replied. 

" They was about to git back in the carriage when she saw 
me, and come towards me with both hands stretched out. 

1 "0, sir!' she said to me, with her cheeks all wet, ' did 
you think enough of his grave to take keer of it ; let me re- 
ward you.' And b'fore I could speak she put that money in 
my hand. I run up to the carriage as she got in, and tole 
her I did not want her money, but they drove off without 
saying any more." 

"Do you know where they went to, and did she call the 
officer's name ?" I asked, intensely interested in what he had 
related. 

" No ; but I went to town next day, and saw 'em* going 
off on the train, and the man had a han' trunk marked New 
York." 

17 



386 SEA-GIFT. 

" Poor Lulie 1" I murmured ; " would to Heaven I could 
find her." 

The train was standing at the depot as we drove up, and 
I had to hurry to get on. Ben followed me into the car, and, 
taking my hand, said : 

" Good bye, John, for I can't call you Mr. Smith, like I 
orter. Remember one thing, no matter where you go or 
who you see you'll never find anybody to think any more 
of you than Ben. I didn't have much religion to start with, 
and the war spilled what I did have out ; but if I ever do 
get to the good place I'd like to see you there, for it won't 
seem natch urel without you." 

The train moved off and he was gone — a true, tried old 
heart. 

There was one more duty, a sacred one, for me to perform 
before our departure. I must bring my father's remains 
from the enemy's land, and let them rest in the soil he had 
died for. I found no difficulty in identifying his grave at 
Elmira, owing to the clear and distinct manner in which it 
had been marked by Mr. P., the agent referred to ; and taking 
up the rude prison coffin, I had it enclosed as it was, without 
being opened, in a large metallic case, and thus brought it 
home. 

Mother had given up her desire to have him buried under 
the old cedar, as she knew his grave would be neglected* 
when we had passed away, and the property had fallen 
into strangers' hands, as it inevitably must some time in the 
future. So we carried his remains to the cemetery, and in 
the hazy autumn evening, while the sinking sun was mel- 
lowed by the purple mists, we laid him beneath the still 
green turf, where the yellow leaves were falling, in " whis- 
pers to the living," one by one upon his grave. 

And now, with that solemn certainty that alone belongs 
to Time and Death, the day appointed for departure ap- 
proached. On the evening before we were to leave, feeling 



SEA-GIFT. 387 

that I ought to pay a farewell visit to Ned's grave, I went 
down to the livery stables — our stalls were empty now — 
and hired a horse and buggy, and drove, with Carlotta, 
down to Mr. Cheyleigh's. The old gentleman came out to 
meet us with his wonted cordiality, and was as cheerful as of 
old, but Mrs. Cheyleigh had never gotten over Ned's death, 
and I could read in her wan, sad face, the tale of incurable 
sorrow. We talked all the while of Ned and his death ; and 
as I told her how the men all loved him for his goodness, 
and the officers honored him for his bravery, I could see 
that, like a Spartan mother, even in her tears, she was proud 
of her gallant boy. 

At length I arose and went out alone to his grave. It 
was in a grove of pines near the house, and the brown pine 
straw hushed my footfalls as I approached, and the wind 
was sighing through the boughs. The grave was enclosed 
by an iron railing, and over it rested a plain marble slab, on 
which were an inscription and some lines in gilded letters. 
Opening the wire-work gate, with uncovered head and soft- 
ened step I went up to the slab, and, bending over it, read : 

SACRED TO THE MEMORY 
OF 

EDWARD CHEYLEIGH, 

Born April 8th, 1840, 

Killed at the battle of Gettysburg, July 2d, 1863. 

•• Tell them to bury me under the pines at home." 

I would not rest in the mouldering tomb 

Of the grim churchyard, where the ivy twines, 
But make my grave in the forest's gloom, 
Where the breezes wave, like a soldier's plume, 
Each dark green bough of the dear old pines , 

Where the lights and shadows softly merge, 

And the sun-flakes sift through the netted vines ; 

Where the sea winds, sad with the sob of the surge, 

From the harp-leaves sweep a solemn dirge 
For the dead beneath the sighing pines. 



388 SEA-GIFT. 

"When the winter's icy fingers sow 

The mound with jewels till it shines, 
And cowled in hoods of glistening snow, 
Like white-veiled Sisters bending low, 
Bow, sorrowing, the silent pines. 

"While others fought for cities proud, 

For fertile plains and wealth of mines, 
I breathed the sulph'rous battle cloud, 
I bared my breast, and took my shroud 

For the land where wave the grand old pines. 

Though comrades sigh and loved ones weep 
For the form shot down in the battle lines, 
In my grave of blood I gladly sleep, 
If the life I gave will help to keep 

The Vandal's foot from the Land of Pines. 



The Vandal's foot hath pressed our sod, 

His heel hath crushed our sacred shrines ; 
And, bowing 'neath the chastening rod, 
"We lift our hearts and hands to God, 
And cry : " Oh ! save our Land of Pines 1" 



CHAPTER XLIY. 

However pleasant may be the scenes to which we are 
going, we cannot repress a feeling of sadness as we leave 
those with which we have been long associated, and which 
have become, as it were, part of our life. 

As the train bearing us from our home moved off from 
the shed, I went out to the rear platform, and stood looking 
at each familiar place and object as they passed, with a 
fond farewell upon my lips, and a desire to stamp all so in- 
delibly upon my memory that in years to come I might 
remember exactly how everything appeared. As I stood 



SEA-GIFT. 389 

with my face down the track I could not see an object till 
it passed, and then I gazed at it as it receded, till other 
objects flashing by claimed my attention. Now the bridge 
overhead, where I had so often stood to throw bits of coal 
and wood at the engines passing underneath, its arch and 
railing almost hidden in the curling volumes of smoke our 
engine has left behind ; now the machine shops, where as a 
boy I had gathered the spiral iron shavings as great won- 
ders of art, still clinking noisily above the rattle of the train, 
and blinking their red eyes from every forge ; now engine 
yards, with old rusty boilers cast aside, and broken smoke 
stacks lying on the ground ; here a pond where I have 
fished, its yellow surface darkened with cinders and wrin- 
kled with the breath of our speed ; there the river where 
I have bathed, hidden by the trees itself, but its course 
revealed by some naked mast and gliding sails ; now we 
rattle through the coal and lumber yards, almost brushing 
against great piles of timber heaped along the track, and 
almost grazing dusty carts, with coal-begrimed drivers in 
red shirts, and heavy plodding horses with brass-studded 
harness, nodding their heads at every step, as if to say they 
were used to the cars and could not be prevailed upon to 
shy ; now flash by streets that open, for a second, elm-bor- 
dered vistas 'way up into the city, and close them as they 
whirl past ; now we overtake and pass some one who knows 
me, walking along a very narrow sidewalk, and who bows 
and says something I cannot understand, and which I can 
only reply to by a great many shakes of the head ; now we 
rattle by a little house with a dingy porch, and a goat with 
two kids browsing in front, where a schoolmate of mine 
used to live and invite me, and mother would not let me 
go ; and now we roar out through the suburbs, where 
greasy looking men are smoking short pipes in rickety door- 
ways, and red-armed women, with tumbled-down hair, are 
ever carrying water in painted buckets to the crazy shan- 



390 SEA-GIFT. 

ties, and never seeming to use it, and where flocks of dirty 
children run out to wave and scream at the train ; on till 
the last tenement is passed, and in the hazy distance I can 
only recognize the steeples of the different churches. Even 
these at last fade into the sky, and still, in my reverie, I 
stand there watching the black rails gliding like two long 
serpents from under the train, and the cross-ties ever flit- 
ting like steps to an interminable ladder down the track. 

As I had several matters of business to attend to in New 
York, I determined to take steamer from that point to Ha- 
vana, instead of from Charleston, as we first thought of doing. 

The evening after our arrival in the metropolis being 
bright and sunny, I ordered an open carriage, and Carlotta 
and I, with little Johnnie, drove out to the Park. Ordering 
our coachman to let the horses go slowly, we gave ourselves 
up to the enjoyment of the beautiful scene. Pausing at each 
object of interest — here a marble statue, there a bronze, 
getting out at the museum, that Johnnie might see the ani- 
mals, stopping on the edge of the lake, that he might feed the 
swans — time passed swiftly, and the sun was nearly down 
as we found ourselves over the terrace, the dress parade 
ground for the equipages of the Park. The press of vehi- 
cles here forced us to stop for a moment, and at the same 
instant a most superb turnout caught our attention. A 
pair of jet black horses, whose champing mouths almost bit 
their foam-flecked breasts, covered with harness that daz- 
zled the eye with its gleaming plate, a glittering gold-mount- 
ed chariot, and a coachman and lackey in green and gold 
liveries 1 There were only two occupants — a handsome, mid- 
dle-aged man, and a lady of striking yet haggard beauty. 
Clustering brown curls fell around her shoulders, and her 
hazel eyes were very bright, but her wan cheek was rouged, 
and the smile she wore was plainly forced and meaningless. 
All this we saw in a moment, and then we looked in each 
other's faces, and exclaimed in one breath : 



SEA-GIFT. 391 

" Lulio Mayland !'' 

Ere we could extricate ourselves from the throng of car- 
riages and follow, their chariot was out of sight, and we 
could only return to our hotel in wonder and surprise. 

That night Carlotta and I went to the Academy of Music. 
Parepa was to open the season with Maritana, and the vast 
edifice was crowded. The curtain was down for the second 
act, and Carl Rosa, with his nervous baton was wafting up 
from the orchestra a soft, exquisite aria, when the door 
of a box across the circle was opened by an obsequious 
usher, and a gentleman in an agony of fashion bowed a tre- 
mendous satin trail, a superb white cloak, and a profusion 
of diamonds into the seat. Laying a harp of camelias and 
tube-roses in his crush hat, he assisted her in removing her 
cloak, and, as a cluster of brown curls fell over her bare 
white shoulders, we recognized again Lulie. He seemed to 
bend over her with pleasant words, for she frequently 
smiled ; but oh ! the look of weariness and despair that 
at times would flit across her face ! The curtain rose and 
fell, Parepa sang, her sweetest, and the dome reechoed the 
thunders of applause, but we sat regardless of the stage, 
with our opera glasses fixed on the box where Lulie sat. 
The gentleman, too, who was with her was an object of in- 
terest to me, for I could not divest myself of the idea that I 
had seen him somewhere. The deep red hair, parted so ex- 
actly in the middle, the flowing side whiskers, and the fop- 
pish dress, all seemed familiar, but I could not recall them, 
till presently he lowered his lorgnon and stuck in his eye- 
glass, and then I recognized Mr. Monte. I immediately rose 
and left our box to go to them, but before I had gotten half 
around the aisle I saw them both rise from their seats and 
leave the house. I followed as fast as I could through the 
throng, and reached the pavement just in time to see them 
drive off in their carriage. 

When we returned to the hotel I rang for a directory and 



392 SEA-GIFT. 

found Monte's name and place of ousiness, and lay down 
to sleep, resolved to seek out Lulie, and, with Carlotta's aid, 
reclaim her if possible. 



CHAPTER XLV. 



Mr. Monte was partner in a large dry goods house on 
Broadway^ and from what I knew of his habits I judged 
that I would most likely find him in the store about two 
o'clock. Accordingly, after lunch I took an omnibus and 
rode down to the place. It was a massive five story build- 
ing, with great iron and glass doors, that turned slowly on 
their hinges, and, closing with a loud bang, shut out the 
noise and rattle of the great thoroughfare. I stood for a 
moment confused by the murmur of voices and the tramp 
of feet, as the hundreds of salesmen and merchants swarmed 
over every floor of the vast building. The next instant the 
door sentry approached, and asked whom I wished to see. 

"Mr. Monte ; is he in?" I replied, feeling for my card. 

" Mr. Monte !" he said, looking somewhat surprised. 
" What market are you from ?" 

" North Carolina," I replied. 

" Oh, then," said he, walking with me to the head of some 
stairs that led to a gas-lighted apartment below, " you want 
to see Mr. Bantam. Ban-turn ! Ban-turn /" he called in his 
loudest tone, accenting the last syllable, and giving it the 
"u" sound. "Mr. Bantam is from your State; he is down 

stairs now with Col. from Baleigh, in flannels. Will 

be up in a moment. How's trade in your section ?" 

" I am not a merchant," I replied, wondering what Mr. 

Bantam could be doing with Col. in flannel, and if the 

Col. had forgotten his under garments when leaving home. 



SEA -GIFT. 393 

At this moment Mr. Bantam, an elderly man, slightly bald, 
appeared at the bottom of the stairway and called out : 
"Who is it, Johnson?" 

" A gentleman from your State." 

"All right ; I'll be up in five minutes." 

" Wait a few moments, sir," said Johnson, going back to 
his post at the door. 

Leaning back against a case of prints, I looked around 
at this hive of human bees. From floor to floor, from wall 
to wall, were heaped and piled, like immense breastworks, 
goods and merchandise of almost every description ; case 
after case of prints, rolls upon rolls of cloths and cassimeres, 
long brilliant rows of dress goods, boxes of glittering silks, 
long counters of notions, great heaps of shawls, rugs and 
blankets; laces, ribbons, and white goods; every depart- 
ment marked by placards with hands pointing to it, and 
over each another placard with terms of sale : " 30 days," 
"Regular," or "Net." * 

Everywhere, at every case, around every heap of goods 
were the salesmen and merchants, bending over fabrics, 
examining their texture, standing off to get the full effect 
of the figure ; the one class praising and overrating, the 
other undervaluing and quoting prices from other houses. 
Just here, at the case next to me, is a fancy young man, with 
brilliant studs and a flash cravat, a pencil across his mouth 
like a bit, and his shirt sleeves held up by gutta percha 
bands, diving head foremost into a box and bringing up a 
piece of goods, which he exhibits with a slap, as if it were 
a horse, and winks at a passing comrade, who pinches his 
arm and says : " How is it, Saunders?" while the merchant, 
an old fellow from the country, with a broad felt hat and 
long coat, who licks his short stump of a pencil whenever 
he sets down anything in his; memorandum book, which has 
his name in gilt letters on the back, and was sent to him by 
some advertising house, is bending down to examine it. 

17* 



394 SEA-GIFT. 

Over there is a red-faced man, in a Cardigan jacket, showing 

. But here is Mr. Bantam, who reads my card and 

exclaims : 

" Smith ! I am delighted to see you. When did you 
leave the old North State?" 

" On Tuesday last," I replied, rather taken aback by his 
familiar cordiality. 

"Where are you .stopping?" he inquired, bending the 
corners of my card. 

" At the Fifth Avenue Hotel." 

"That is the reason I missed you last night," he said; V.I 
did not go higher than the St. Nicholas. Well, I am very glad 
you've come in. Hope you'll make all your dry goods bill 
with us. It's much the best plan to concentrate on a 
house, and we'll be sure to do you good. What depart- 
ment will you look through this evening? I used to sell 
your father a great many goods." 

I begged his pardon, but informed him that my father 
had never been a merchant, and that I was not merchan- 
dising, but had called in to see Mr. Monte, one of the firm. 

"You must excuse me," he said, familiarly patting me 
on the back, "I thought you wanted to buy. You want 
to see Mr. Monte ? I expect you'll have to go to his house, 
No. — West 34th street. He hardly ever comes here. Bless 
your soul, he wouldn't know what to do if he did come. 
His money is all the house wants. Give him a new dog 
cart and a pair of ponies and he's satisfied." 

" Then he is not much of a business man," I said, for the 
want of something else to say, as I took down his address. 

" Not in this line. He knows how to get in the green 
room at a theatre, and is a first rate judge of wine ; but his 
connection with us is simply confined to putting in some 
money every yeai', and drawing on it like Old Harry the 
balance of the time." 

" I am very much obliged," I said, putting up my pencil ; 



SEA-GIFT. 395 

" I will hurry up to his house, if you think I will find him 
there." 

" He is probably there now, but he will drive out to the 
Park at four." 

I was about to leave, when a tall, elderly man approached 
Mr. Bantam, and said, deferentially, 

" Dinkle, of your State, wants Domestics on sixty days. 
Shall I sell him V 

" I'll go see him," said Bantam, turning off ; " Good bye, 
Mr. Smith. Call in again if you have leisure." 

The tall, elderly man was about to follow him, when a 
sudden recollection of his face flashed upon me, and I caught 
his arm. 

" Excuse me, but isn't this Mr. Marshman ?" 

" It is, sir," he replied, turning around to me again. 

" My name is Smith, sir," I said, offering him my hand ; 
" we met at Saratoga." 

" I remember. How have you been ?" he answered coldly, 
taking my hand without cordiality, while a flush I could not 
understand came over his face. 

"You are connected with this house ?" I asked ; thinking, 
of course, that he was a partner. 

" Only as a salesman," he said bitterly, and then added, 
after a pause, " It is not worth while being ashamed of it. 
Lillian's infernal extravagance ruined me, and I was com- 
pelled to do something." 

" I could make no reply, and there was a pause of some 
seconds, when he continued, with increasing volubility, as 
all men do when speaking of their misfortunes : 

" Lillian's old uncle, from whom we expected a great deal, 
died insolvent. I spent half of what I had in my last poli- 
tical contest, and was defeated by the treachery of my 

friends. Still, after that we had enough to have lived com- 
fortably, by economizing a little ; but Lillian would have 
her brown stone and her carriage, her silks and her laces. 



396 SEA-GIFT. 

and now she has to take the street cars if she rides at all, 
and that isn't often. I could stand it all better if she 
wouldn't cut up so, and mope about her poverty, as she 
calls it. She turns up her nose at the neighborhood because 
we've had to come down to Bleecker street. She spends 
half her time crying and looking over old finery, and talking 
of better days. She puts all sorts of foolish notions into our 
little girl's head, and makes her continually beg me for 
things I have not the money to buy. I would ask you to 
call and see us, but 'twould not be pleasant for you, and 
only make her worse. It is improper, I know, for me to 
talk thus to a comparative stranger, but I am full of bitter- 
ness when I think of Lillian's conduct, and as you used to 
know her I have been communicative. Pardon me. Yon- 
der's Mr. Bantam. I must go back to my customers. Good 
day ! But take this piece of advice : don't marry a belle," 
he added, over his shoulder, as he walked off. 

As I stood on the sidewalk to hail an omnibus, my sym- 
pathy turned from him to poor Lillian, reduced to poverty, 
and her very sighs and tears ridiculed, to any one who 
might listen, by her unfeeling husband. 

When I knocked at No. — West Thirty-fourth street a 
servant in livery appeared and took up my card. I waited 
a few moments in a very handsome parlor, when he returned 
and requested me to walk up stairs. Going up with him I 
was ushered into a sitting room furnished with cosy magni- 
ficence, that is, with a splendid Moquette carpet, on which 
you were not afraid to tread ; velvet divans, on which you 
did not hesitate to recline ; a rosewood table, on which an 
inkstand and pens were scattered ; a marble mantel, with 
a half«moked cigar tossed on it, an etagere with a smoking 
cap, a broken meerschaum, and a Sevres vase of Latakia, 
perched among articles of rarest vertu. With my first 
glance around the apartment Monte came in through a 
folding d Dor from his dressing room, wiping his hands on a 



SEA-GIFT. 397 

Russian towel, and giving me one to shake that was still 
damp. 

" Smith ! old fellow, I am devilish 'glad to see you. When 
did you arrive ? We had a gay time at Saratoga that 
season, didn't we ! Where the deuce have you kept your- 
self ever since ? Sit down." 

" I thought you were aware, Monte," I said, adopting his 
free and easy manner, and lolling carelessly down in an arm 
chair, "that we had had a little unpleasantness down our 
way. I've been in camp four years." 

" Ah, yes," he said, slipping his arm through the coat his 
attendant held ready for him, "I had overlooked that. So 
they made a soldier of you, did they — powder, blood and 
all ? I was captain of a company our fellows here got up, 

but when they went down South I resigned. If the 

States wanted to secede I had no idea of getting my brains 
blown out to prevent them." 

" We were defending our country, you know, and, of 
course, had to fight," I remarked, smiling at his idea of 
patriotism. 

" I suppose so," he said, sitting down near me and arrang- 
ing his cuffs ; then looking up at his servant, who stood 
waiting, "James, tell Thomas to put the bay colt to the 
wagon ; I will drive to Harlem this afternoon. By the way, 
Smith," he continued, when the man had left the room, 
" what ever became of that devil of a beauty that flirted 
with us all, and with whom you left the Springs ?" 

An angry reply rose to my lips at hearing him speak so 
of Carlotta, but knowing that it would defeat the object of 
my visit, I restrained myself, and replied " that she had been 
living down South during the war, but that I understood 
she was soon to return to Cuba." 

There was a short silence, and I was wondering how to 
get at any information in regard to Lulie, when he put up 
his eye-glass and looked at me again. 



398 SEA-GIFT. 

" You've changed a great deal, Smith. I should never 
have recognized you without your card." 

It was just the turn I wanted, and I replied : 

" I saw you last night at the opera and remembered your 
face immediately. But, Monte, apropos of beauty, who was 
the lady you were with ? She drew my attention entirely 
from the stage." 

" Ah !" he said, drawing his eye into the least perceptible 
wink, " She was worth a gaze, wasn't she ? I wouldn't tell 
every one, but you are a transient visitor : that was La 
Belle Louise. Half of New York is crazy about her — that 
is, you know, the b'hoys." 

" Not demi-monde ?" I asked, looking knowing. 

" It was daring in me, wasn't it?" he went on, without 
heeding my remark. "But she wanted to go and I pro- 
mised to carry her. Oh ! but I shall have to lie about it to 
the ladies. I can cheat scandal out of the morsel if some 
fellow who knew her don't blow on me to his mother, and 
she let it out to her set. Confound it, though, who cares ?" 

" Has she many admirers?" I asked. 

" Many seek the honor of her acquaintance, but I believe 
I am the favored one. I'll vow it flattens that deucedly 
though to keep her in diamonds," he said, drawing from 
his pocket a mother of pearl portemonnaie. 

"I'd like to get a peep at her myself; just a peep, Monte. 
" Where does she reside?" I said, taking out a card. 

" Oh, I don't mind telling you. But it's no use, she 
won't see you." 

"La Belle Louise. Number what?" I asked, pretending 
to write. 

" She is at Madame Dubourg's, 42d street, if you wish 
to know," he said, somewhat coldly, as if he thought 
me impertinent. 

Quick as thought 'twas on my card, and then I said, 
smiling : 



SEA-GIFT. 399 

" Oh, well, I was only jesting ; I will leave day after to- 
morrow. But tell me, Monte, something of my old acquaint- 
ance, Miss Finnock." 

" Little Saph.!" he said, regaining his good humor. " She 
is up the Hudson living with her brother, who married 
that horrid Miss Stelway. You remember them?" 

" Very well, but is Miss Finnock not married yet?" 

" No, of course not ; who would marry such a bundle of 
sentiment ? She often boasts of you, though, as the young 
Carolinian she flirted with." 

" I met Mr. Marshman very unexpectedly down at your 
store to-day," I said, not caring to correct little Miss Fin- 
nock's boast. 

"Marshman? Yes, he's selling there for us on a small 
salary — the best we could give him though. The old fellow 
got beaten, took to his cups and went to the bad very fast. 
They say his wife has to work hard to support herself and 
child, while he drinks up what he gets at our house. My 
mother sends them supplies very often, though she has not 
visited them, you know, since they left the top." 

" Have you a check book here ?" I asked, with a sudden 
resolution. 

" Yes," he replied, handing me one from his escritoire. 

" Will you do me the favor to get that to Mrs. Marsh- 
man," I said, filling up the check for a good round sum and 
giving it to him. " Please draw the money and send it to 
her so that my name will not be known in the matter, and 
do not let Marshman touch any of it." 

" James shall attend to it to-morrow. But stay and dine 
with me. We'll drive out to Harlem, and get back to din- 
ner at six." 

" Thanks, I must return to my hotel, as I have an engage- 
ment there. Dine with me to-morrow. I am at the Fifth 
Avenue." 

" Would be happy The Sillery's very fine there, but I 



400 SEA-GIFT. 

dine our Club on my yacht to-morrow. Speaking of La 
Belle Louise," he continued, following me down to the door, 
" Madame Dubourg told me she gets letters from North 
Carolina, and that she is continually sending money to Italy 
to complete a monument to go over some poor devil of a 
deserter from the rebel army, who was killed down there. 
Did you ever hear of her before ?" 

" La Belle Louise ? I never heard the name till you men- 
tioned it," I said. 

" I supposed it was a mistake. Good day." 
"Lulie, I have found you at last," I murmured, as I saun- 
tered down Fifth Avenue to the hotel. " God grant we may 
save you !" 



CHAPTER XLYI. 

Madame Dubourg's was a grand brown stone building, 
with broad carved balustrades, and stone vases of cactus. 
I had chosen the hour of twelve for our visit, as the parlors 
would most likely then be free from visitors, and we could 
see Lulie in quiet. When we alighted from our carriage 
there was a large-armed Irish woman washing off the stone 
steps, and a man in a paper cap standing on a high step- 
ladder, to rub the plate glass windows. They were talking 
and laughing together, but ceased as we got out, and looked 
at us and each other with some surprise on their faces. The 
woman gathered up her cloth and water bucket and dis- 
appeared through the area with an audible snicker, while 
the man fell to rubbing, the wide panes with renewed dili- 
gence. There was a pretty silver knocker on the figured 
glass door, and as I let it fall the door was thrown open by 
a footman, who had put on his gold laced coat so hurriedly 
the collar was turned under, and from whose moustache 



SEA-GIFT. 401 

some fragments of cheese were still hanging. He favored us 
with a prolonged stare of wonder, then presented a some- 
what tarnished gold salver for our cards. I laid one in it, 
on which was simply written, " An old friend," and said : 
" To see La Belle Louise." 

" You can't see her," he replied, with something of inso- 
lence in his tone. 

I restrained my first impulse of anger, and slipping a five 
dollar gold piece in his hand, said quietly, 

"Take my card up to her, and say nothing aoout a lady's 
being with me." 

" I will, sir," he said, with a low bow, his manner chang- 
ing instantly at the touch of the gold. 

He ushered us through a wide hall, with mosaic floor, into 
a spacious parlor, furnished in dark green velvet, and opening 
into another of light green satin damask, and this, in turn, 
leading to a large conservatory of rare plants and flowers. 
Though the furniture and all the appointments were so 
magnificent, yet every thing bore the defacement of reckless 
vice. The splendid Axminster carpets, though partially pro- 
tected by linen tracks, were soiled and worn by muddy 
boots, the grand piano had its rosewood surface scratched 
and bruised, the music books were torn and scattered, buhl 
quartette tables around the room were covered with slop- 
pings of wine, broken glasses, wet packs of cards and dice, 
the embroidered flowers on the ottomans were frayed into 
strings, and the gorgeous paintings on the walls were 
splotched and blistered, and their gilded frames tarnished. 
We had walked through both parlors to the conservatory 
and returned to the first, when we heard a light foot-fall on 
the stairway, and Lulie came down into the hall and stood 
for a moment looking through the side lights out into the 
street, with the same look of wan despair upon her face. 
The next instant she walked lightly into the room, twirling 
the tassel of her morning robe over her forefinger. She ad- 



402 SEA-GIFT. 

vanced half across the room before she saw us, and then her 
eyes opened as if in terror, a leaden pallor spread over her 
face, as if life had fled, and pressing her hand to her heart, 
with the tremulous wail, " God I" she sank down upon 
the floor, her pallid cheek resting on the cushion of afauteuil 
that had been overthrown, and her colorless lips uttering 
low moans, that were piteous, indeed, to hear. 

In a moment Carlotta was down on the floor beside her, 
lifting the poor bowed head to her bosom, smoothing the 
brown hair from the fair brow that was once so pure, and 
dropping the tears of her Christ-like pity on the upturned 
face. The poor girl had no strength to stir, but only put 
up her white hands feebly and murmured : 

" Do not touch me ; oh ! do not touch me. God knows I 
am unworthy to breathe the air you do. Leave me ! Cast 
me off as all the world have done," and again she would 
make those gentle, piteous moans. 

As soon as Carlotta could command her voice she bent 
down, and kissing her forehead tenderly, said : 

" Lulie, darling, we have come to save you." 

" To save me? Oh, no ; it's too late — too late I" 

" Do not say so, dearest Lulie," urged Carlotta ; " our car- 
riage is at the door. Do not wait a moment, but come with 
us and leave forever this pit of perdition." 

" Would to God I could," she said, shaking her head 
slowly, and speaking in the same low tone ; " there was a 
time I might have gone, but not now, not now." 

" But, Lulie, we are going away from this country to 
Cuba, where no one has ever known you. No one is with 
us except mother, who is even now waiting to receive you. 
We will forever bury the past, and look forward only to a 
new life. Lulie, come with us, and be my darling sister in 
our happy home." 

She raised herself from Carlotta, and, placing her hands 
over her face, sat rocking herself back and forth, her very 



SEA-GIFT. 403 

frame convulsed with the agony of her struggle. When she 
lifted her face again her mind was made up. 

" It cannot be, Lottie," she said, calling Carlotta's name 
for the first time. " Heaven only knows how I appreciate 
your goodness and thank you for it ; but I cannot go with 
you ; I cannot throw the shadow of my presence on your 
household. The world has no forgiveness for my sin, and 
no life of penitence or purity I might lead would ever wash 
away the stain. I do not doubt your kindness ; as God is 
my witness I believe that you would love me, but, do what 
you would to forget and conceal it, in your hearts I could 
never be anything but poor fallen Lulie — and the conscious- 
ness that you all knew of my ruin would make your very 
presence a torture to me." 

" But, Lulie," persisted Carlotta, " this sensitiveness would 
after a while pass off, and our very kindness would beguile 
you of your remorse. And even if you suffer, I should think 
any change would be better than this life of shameless in- 
iquity, so utterly opposed to the refinement and delicacy I 
believe still linger in your breast." 

" Oh, Lottie, do not chide me. You, whose heart is pure, 
who have never known the wild reckless abandonment of 
all that is virtuous, all that is good, cannot understand the 
terrible remorse that drives me into vice, whose constancy 
will prevent reflection — aye, reflection. An eternity of hell 
is compassed in one hour of my retrospect. I cannot be 
alone ; solitude would drive me mad. One thought alone 
has brought relief — l-elief mingled with horror — the thought 
of death 1 Oft in the night has it come to my sleepless pil- 
low and whispered to me 'Die !' and yet, when I poured 
the poison in the glass, my trembling hand has dropped it 
from my lips. But the crisis has come," she said, fiercely, 
striking her hands together and wringing them till her 
jewelled rings cut into the flesh. " I will not shrink again. 
I will die !" and clasping her hands across her head, she 



404 SEA-GIFT. 

gazed at me with such intense anguish and despair in her 
hollow eyes, I shrank from her face. 

" Lulie, Lulie, dearest, do not speak so," said Carlotta, 
again putting her arms around her and trying to soothe 
her. " You cannot surely contemplate selMestruction. 
Think, Lulie, what an awful thing it is to die. There, dar- 
ling," she continued, as Lulie's head drooped on her shoul- 
der, " you were speaking wildly just now, you did not mean 
what you said. Come, the carriage is waiting. You must 
go with us ; we cannot leave you here." 

But Lulie only shook her head firmly and remained silent. 

After a rather long pause Carlotta spoke again, in a low 
impressive voice : 

"Lulie, hear my last appeal. For the sake of the long 
ago, when we were innocent happy children, and our hearts 
were bound with ties of love which have never yet been 
broken ; for the sake of those dear old days, I beseech, I im- 
plore you to leave these unworthy associations, and seek 
with us a better life. Aye, Lulie, for the sake of your dead 
mother, I beg you to come. If a heart can be sad in Hea- 
ven, hers is bleeding now to see you thus ; her precious 
little Lulie in such a place as this 1 Oh ! will you not 
make her happy again ?" 

The fountains of her heart were now broken up, and with 
long shuddering sobs she lay weeping on Carlotta's neck. 

I had not spoken yet, but had left all to Carlotta's tact 
and skill. I now knelt down by Lulie and took her hand, 
while my broken voice and tearful eyes attested the sin- 
cerity of all I said : 

" Dear little playmate, by the memory of our childhood's 
love, by the thousand scenes and incidents that endeared 
us to each other — our nursery games, Miss Hester's school, 
the little parties when you first ventured to take ray arm — 
by your first rejection of my love as we grew older, but 
above all, by the confidence you placed in me under the old 



SEA-GIFT. 405 

oak at Chapel Hill, I implore you to trust us now and to 
put your future into our hands." 

" Oh, spare me ! spare me !" she cried, sobbing afresh, 
"for humanity's sake spare me ! If you would not kill me, 
do not tell me of my joyous, sinless childhood. It is gone 
forever from me. Oh, my wrecked and ruined character ! 
Oh, my blighted, broken heart ! Mother ! mother ! mother ! 
God grant you may be blind in Heaven, that you may not 
see your poor, polluted child on earth. Lottie, do not tor- 
ture me more ; 'tis useless to persuade me ; I cannot go. 
Leave me to my fate. If you are willing, put both arms 
round my neck once more and kiss me farewell. John, my 
noble, true-hearted friend, Good-bye !" 

Carlotta strained her again and again to her bosom, then, 
seeing she was not to be shaken from her purpose, we 
slowly and sorrowfully left the room. At the door Car- 
lotta's feelings overcame her, and resolving to make one 
more trial, she went back, and embracing her again, said : 

" Lulie, I cannot leave you so. By the Blood of dear 
Jesus, by the Cross of our Redeemer, I beseech you to go 
with us to our home." 

Poor Lulie caught her hand and pressed her tear-wet 
cheek and lips upon it, then pushed her from her side, not 
rudely but sadly, with despair in her very touch. 

And so we left her sitting on the floor, with her head 
buried in her folded arms upon an ottoman. We were so 
troubled to leave her as we found her, that we wrote a long 
note and sent it up to Madame Dubourg's that evening 
from the hotel. The waiter soon returned with our note 
unopened, but on it, scribbled with a pencil : 

" Dear friends, forget me ! 

Lulie." 

Next morning, as we stood on the deck of the steamer for 
Humana, inhaling the breeze and enjoying the scene, while 



406 SEA-GIFT. 

the giant wheels were throbbing us out into the ocean, we 
little thought that in the great city behind us, up in a room 
with perfumed and silken hangings, an overburdened heart, 
slower and slower, was throbbing, throbbing, throbbing a 
soul out into eternity. 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

Carlotta and I are standing in the balcony of our cham- 
ber, gazing in rapt admiration on the gorgeous beauty of a 
Cuban sunset. The home we have come to is indeed a 
lovely one; it is situated about fifteen miles from Havana. 
The house, built of white stone, is like some Gothic castle, with 
its towers, and arches, and extensive proportions, yet has all 
the airy lightness of Italian architecture, in tasteful deco- 
rations and elegant finish. It stands on a slight elevation 
overlooking the sea, and is surrounded with all the ap- 
pointments refined taste could suggest or wealth procure. 
White shelled walks, bordered with smoothly trimmed ever- 
greens, wind through gardens of exquisite flowers, or be- 
neath wire-trellised graperies, whose luscious clusters rival 
those of Eschol. Beautiful drives lead around lawns of 
green velvet, where fountains play with sparkling jets, and 
marble statues gleam amid the shrubbery, or down through 
long fragrant groves of oranges and limes, that drop their 
yellow fruit beneath the passing wheels. 

Every chamber in the house is fitted up with elegant com- 
fort, the long suite of parlors furnished in varied magnifi- 
cence, the halls filled with works of art, and the library 
with rarest literature. All the domestic details, usually so 
troublesome when we move to a strange place, are arranged 
with perfect system and regularity, and a large retinue of 
well trained servants, subservient in demeanor, anticipative, 



SEA-GIFT. 407 

yet not officious in their attention, await our commands and 
faithfully discharge their appointed duties. 

All these arrangements were perfected before our arri- 
val by our very efficient agents, Messrs. Rinaldo, who have 
had charge of the estate since Mr. Rurlestone's death, and 
nothing was left for me to do but to assume control of the 
establishment. 

Herrora Lola, grown portly and plethoric since I last saw 
him, yet still exceedingly handsome, is living near, and he 
and his lovely Spanish wife are our frequent guests. Indeed 
they, and a few Southern families who have fled to Havana, 
are the only society we receive, as we desire yet a while 
quiet and retirement. 

I have heard once from Ben Bemby since we reached here. 
All were well, and in good spirits. His father, himself and 
Horace, had all gone to work vigorously on their respective 
farms, preparing them for the next year's crop, though he 
apprehended great difficulty in securing effective labor. His 
letter, though characteristic, showed a spirit of earnest en- 
ergy and hopefulness, and was burdened throughout with 
messages of love for us all from true and honest hearts. 

But, as I was saying, Carlotta and I were in the balcony, 
looking at the sunset. Cloudless and alone the god of day 
was sinking to his rest. A few fleecy racks towards the 
South were blushing with his good-night kiss, and a purple 
bank with silver fringe lay beneath him, like the pillow of 
his couch. Drowsily he sunk his head upon it, and drawing 
the ocean, like a burnished coverlid, over his golden face, 
was asleep 1 

The spell of our silent admiration was broken by Miguel, 
my valet, who approached with the mail from Havana. 
Running hurriedly through the letters I came to one 
directed to Carlotta and myself, and dated from New York 
the very day we sailed. Calling her to my side, I tore off 
the envelope and read : 



408 SEA-GIFT. 

" My only Friends — 

When this reaches you I shall be in the grave, where the 
scorn and contempt of the world cannot harm me. The 
awful abyss of eternity is before me, and into its depths I 
blindly plunge — whither I care not — any where, any where 
to leave earth, with its curses on the fallen, and to crush 
out Memory's page of past purity. There is but one ray 
of comfort in the dark Hereafter — the thought that in the 
realms of gloom to which I am going I will not meet the 
sad reproof of my mother's face. 

Dying, I leave no reproaches for the dead, no warning for 
the living. I fell through my own weakness, and my eter- 
nal doom will be just ; but oh ! my poor heart breaks as I 
think of what I was and what I might have been. 

To you, who tried to save me, my life's last pulse will be 
a throb of gratitude. I dare not pray for you, but He who 
suffered Magdalen to weep upon His feet will reward you. 

Farewell, forever farewell! Luxie." 

As I opened the sheet to read the last lines a little flower 
fell out on the floor. Carlotta picked it up, and, bursting 
into tears, placed it in my hand. 

It was a little snow-drop, with its petals powdered with soot. 

Carlotta has gone in with the letter to mother, and I sit 
alone in the balcony, thinking of Lulie. And the red light 
dies out in the West, and the stars shine down from the 
sky, and the stars shine back from the sea, and I am still 
gazing far over the gray waters towards the land that I 
fought for — a land where orphans' tears meet widows' wails, 
and maidens wear the mournful pledge of battle-broken troth 
— a land where want and woe are rife, and the burdened 
people bow beneath the yoke of conquest ; and yet, from 
all the wealth and luxury that surround me, my Southern 
heart turns with al" the yearning of a child back to my 
Southern Home. 

finis.